Do you see current events differently because you were raised by a black father and are married to a black man?
I am surprised they haven’t left already —
things have gotten downright frosty, nearly unbearable.
A mob of them is apparently mouthing off outside
when I put down my newspaper and we all gather
to stand beside my daughter in the bay
of kitchen windows. Quiscalus quiscula:
this name sounds like a spell which, after its casting,
will make things crumble into a complement
of unanswerable questions. Though, if you need me
to tell you God’s honest truth, I know nothing
but their common name the morning we watch them attack
our feeder. I complain about the mess they leave. Hulls
I’ll have to sweep up or ignore. My father —
who I am thankful is still alive — says We could use
a different kind of seed. A simple solution. We want that
brown bird with the shock of red: the northern flicker.
We want western bluebirds, more of the skittish
finches. But mostly we get grackle grackle grackle
all day long. Can it be justifiable to revile these
harbingers? They scoff all we offer
and — being too close and too many — scare
other birds away. My husband says, Look
at all those crackles. I almost laugh at him,
but the winter air does look hurtful loud
around the black flock. Like static is loud when it sticks
sheets to sheets so they crackle when pulled
one from another. And sting. My father — who is older now
than his older brothers will ever be — promises
he will solve the problem of the grackles
and leaves the window to search for his keys.
The dawn sky — blue breaking into blackness —
is what I see feathering their bodies. The fence
is gray. The feeder is gray, the aspen bark. Gray
hulls litter the ground. But the grackles,
their passerine claws — three facing forward, one turned
back — around the roost bar of the feeder, are
so bright within their blackness, I pray they will stay.