The finch left the door but the song sparrow
still keeps a nest in the yew. Cardinals
have the privet and robins have staked out
the leaves of Harry Lauder's walking stick.
All of these around my own house, which hangs
precariously from a fickle sky,
filled with hourglasses camouflaged as clouds,
celebrated by birds in their passing.
Inside I live by waiting and looking out
from the ruins to the handmade landscape,
best described as “artisanal” or “jungle.”
That doesn't seem to matter to the birds.
It's nice to know the poetry of flight
is grounded in this private kind of prose,
that certain songs are free and freely given
and all you need to do is not to ask.
- M. A. Schaffner has work recently published or forthcoming in The Hollins Critic, Magma, Tulane Review, Gargoyle, and The Delinquent. Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.