Grief Poetry

Late December Bird Watch

The mourning doves are here for the winter,
eight by this morning’s count at the feeder before

eight by their count now on the slight-sagged branch
where they wait out the starlings
with hope there is something left

that galaxy of stars like a black hole
devours everything
leaves morsels for small sparrows at least
who will sneak back later to peck out
their gratitude in code on the frost

I read it sometimes, their code of thanks,
wonder if they know I timed it —
spread seeds as soon as the doves arrived,
before the stars descended with the moon

made myself large by the side door
a warning, a warrior

let them have their take, those eight
grief is a hungry thing
even the weeping is enough to lay a table bare

Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. Photo by Jennifer Snyder, Project Feederwatch

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