Redwing Blackbird

Feet firmly perch
thinnest stalks, reeds, bulrush.
Until all at once, they attend my
female form, streaked throat, brownness.

Three fly equidistant
around me, flashing.
Each, in turn, calls territorial
trills, beckons ok-a-li, ok-a-li!

Spreads his wings, extends
inner muscle quivering red
epaulet bands uniquely bolden.

Turn away each suitor,
mind myself my audience.
Select another to consider,
He in turn quiver thrills.

Leave for insects.
Perhaps one male follows.
Maybe a few brood of young,
line summertime.

Silver Maple samaras
wing wind, spread clusters
along with mine, renewing Prairie.

As summer closes, I leave
dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies,
mosquitoes, moths, spiders, crickets for

grain, see, Sunflower;
join thousands to flock Sky—
grackles, blackbirds, cowbirds,     starlings—
Swarming like distant smoke clouds, rising.


Allison Adele Hedge Coke, “Redwing Blackbird” from Blood Run. Copyright © 2006 by Allison Adele Hedge Coke. Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.
Source: Blood Run (Salt Publishing, 2006)
More Poems by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke