Illustration: birdbath photo digitally manipulated to suggest shadow of bird flying overhead

A Glimpse of Birds

I’ve seen and loved
them: the birds, the mess
of wings, the beaks
that stab, the disrespectful
looks — like feathers that fall
from my feeder. Their nectar-colored
eyes, striped sparrows and hummingbirds all raging
shapes and then the reds — endless flapping, small lives
on black wires, sound-colored. Cardinals, goldfinches
dive across
my lawn for food. Then off
toward the sky.

Their words
are theirs, and strange. I
imitate their sounds, but they
see through this nonsense.
They know the truth of things, and they rise to fly
away to a world only they can name.

Andrew J. Calis is a Palestinian-American poet, teacher, husband, and father of four. His first book of poetry, Pilgrimages (Wipf & Stock, 2020), was praised by James Matthew Wilson for having “the intensity of Hopkins” and for “layer[ing] light on light in hopes of helping us to see.” His work has appeared in America, Dappled Things, Presence, Convivium and elsewhere and he teaches at Archbishop Spalding High School in Maryland.

Illustration by C.B. Auder.

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