The woodpecker keeps returning
to drill the house wall.
Put a pie plate over one place, he chooses another.
There is nothing good to eat there:
he has found in the house
a resonant billboard to post his intentions,
his voluble strength as provider.
But where is the female he drums for? Where?
I ask this, who am myself the ruined siding,
the handsome red-capped bird, the missing mate.
Poem copyright © 2005 by Jane Hirshfield from her forthcoming book After (Harper Collins, 2006), and reprinted by permission of the author.
Source: After (2006)