Birding at the Dairy

Sidney Wade

We’re searching
for the single

yellow-headed
blackbird

we’ve heard
commingles

with thousands
of starlings

and brown-headed
cowbirds,

when the many-
headed body

arises
and undulates,

a sudden congress
of wings

in a maneuvering
wave that veers

and wheels, a fleet
and schooling swarm

in synchronous alarm,
a bloom radiating

in ribbons, in sheets,
in waterfall,

a murmuration
of birds

that turns
liquid in air,

that whooshes
like waves

on the shore,
or the breath

of a great
seething prayer.

More by Sidney Wade

first green flare

makes
the air

quiver
and dart

the throat
ache

to call
makes

the heart
cheer

the ear
keen

to the sheer
glorious

windfall
of oriole

veery
vireo

Blue

The great blue
song of the earth
is sung in all
the best venues—
treetop, marsh,
desert, shore—
and on this spring
day in the wetlands
where, under
a late sun,
we stand alone
and in love
with each other
and the passing day
we watch a cormorant
whose eye is ringed
in blue diamonds,
a shimmering lure,
and we love this blue
and this dark bird
and this deepening sky
that pinks and hums
in the west, and then

the bird opens his beak
and flutters his throat
and the late
afternoon light
illuminates
the inside tissue
of his mouth
which is as blue
as his ocular jewelry,
as blue as the bluest
ocean, as blue
as the sky in all
its depth, as blue
as the back of the small
and determined beetle
who struggles to roll
his enormous dung ball
in his own breeding bid
to enchant another
small blue miracle.