By Eamonn Wall
Today through field glasses
I observe one small flock
of red-winged blackbirds
busy about the Audubon
Center, the viewer narrowing
space to a single frame
while dreadlock lines crossing
over top whir rhythm sweet
as monks might chant compline.
Seed has been rattled to earth,
grasses through lens magnified.
Of wind, grass and bird sound
no hard register rebounds indoors
though as song I intuit warbling
ear to ear, sweet as a lover’s purr.
Nowhere: guns, booty, murder,
mayhem, not even the whizz-
cut of an automobile.
grandmother, the red-winged
blackbirds do no harm. We sit
in the 1960s side-by-side
at the kitchen table drinking tea
afternoon running along
as its own great fearless river.
At my back
today, two miles away, things
of the Missouri and Mississippi
returning to the frame to feed.
Grandmother taught me to be
for silence watchful and how
to merge with it, then float away.
(Published in Nathalie Anderson ed. Open-Eyed Full Throated: An Anthology of American/Irish Poets. Dublin; Arlen House 2019)