Christine Potter


Like us, they eat when they're nervous.
Just before a storm, clinging to the feeder's
wind-swung tube, they descant coming thunder
with their chatter: gold finches, cardinals, jays,
wings gone neon as the air thickens.

Shut the screen door hard and the latch's bang
is a stone tossed in water; their sudden flight
splashes in all directions. And they're always
nervous, each one of them, like us, turning
sleek heads to a green apple crashing

through the tree's one dead branch.
That sound means nothing but food
for chipmunks and bees.  But they can't
know that, and we don't sort things out
much better.  We put down our newspapers,

focus binoculars on a woodpecker drumming
a willow. At last we relax.  The storm's a way off
and the breeze bringing it smells of wet leaves.
It's good to sit outside, we say. It's good to watch the birds.
They are not like us.  They are wired for escape.

Christine Potter has been head moderator at The Alsop Review's Gazebo for longer than she can remember. Her first collection of poetry, Zero Degrees at First Light, has just been published on the David Roberts imprint at Word Press. Christine lives on a creek in the NYC 'burbs with her husband, Ken, and two very spoiled cats, Desmond and Molly.

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