A Warbler At My Window

April again, bright morning and he’s back, flinging senseless against the pane his scruffy plumage, his shit and mucous and god knows what other bird-body fluids. . . He’s at …

April again, bright morning and he’s back, flinging
senseless against the pane his scruffy plumage,
his shit and mucous and god knows what other
bird-body fluids. . .

He’s at it as if a warbler’s winter, the complicated stormy signals
of exhausting migration, the daily mastery of distance and direction
were unlived irrelevance next to this masculine frenzy: perpetual sexual
spring where a year passed, or sixty, brings neither solace nor wisdom.

The battered self bangs on unrecognized,
mistaken for rival, its harrying blurred riddle

flung back in our faces, the intimate, invisible boundaries
smutched endlessly up against. He pauses, and pants

into focus: blacks and whites and high-lit yellow,
a sharp eye on me from the sill. He’s just torn apart
the bedroom, jerked off feebly on her lingerie
and a chill, a dislocation

sends him hopping and stopping, chest puffed, flustered
along the sundeck handrail, strut in a parallel world. His obsidian

chip of beak points at the sky, all arrogance’s
puny arrowhead, and then

side-long surprise, release
on steep trajectories away, a slide
of gluttonous high-strung duende: song.

John Pass

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Black and white photo of Lauren Tamaki"My latest work for The Walrus was a portrait that accompanied a review of Sheila Heti's new book, Pure Color. I love collaborating with the art directors at The Walrus because I always know the result will be spectacular." - Lauren Tamaki

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