Mar 11, 2008

Counting

Written by Carolyn Guinzio

Read by Quan Barry

The birders lie dressed in their beds,
gravely waiting. Soon, they will step
out in the dark with their pages of lists
and boxes. Have seen, Have seen:
They will mark them off. Their quarry
is one of two shrikes in the county: Butcher
birds spearing their weight in elephant
stag beetles on barbed wire. Louder
human power will ignite the place you live.
Remember the mounted head of the pig
on the fence, facing away from the soon-to-be-
burning house. The shrike is not a mocking
bird, though gray with white wing patches.
Have not seen, empty box, and yet it is,
still is. The birders will fill their boxes
and wait to see what change it brings.
The things that they will see and miss
this morning will be there, the round moon
a small piece in the great funnel leading to the eye,
the lens of the field glasses even wider than
the moon. The beak of the shrike, bearing a beetle,
will only take shape as the moon dissipates.

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