V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





Second day of spring, I woke
to four wild turkeys gobbling on
cracked shells below our feeders.
They brought no chaos to the morning:
bright blue over the mountains,
wrens picking suet as they always do
and flying off, finches pulling thistle
through socks, cardinals swooping
back and forth for sunflower seeds.

Each turkey a good twelve pounds
and almost tall as my waist,
same height as my daughter, who’s five,
who’d love to see this after school:
animals from her Little House books
feasting right here in our yard.

Another of her books taught us
turkeys can fly fifty miles an hour,
glide thousands of feet without flapping,
scratch through six inches of ice
to lift scraps of midwinter food.
All instinct and shifts through resistance.
All blood ritual and desire.
Their eyes can see for a hundred yards.
Their call can resound a mile off.

These turkeys, though, are for the moment
plain as pigeons, or plain as any of us
who have wandered far off course
and want only enough of a meal
to keep going toward what we know.
They eat slowly and don’t fuss.
They don’t strut their feathers
or drag their wings on the ground.
They don’t scare the squirrel
or woodpecker or red-winged blackbirds.
They lean into one another.
They pay no attention to me at the window,
zooming in, zooming out,
shooting them again and again.

© by Daniel Donaghy


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