Chickadee by Allen M Weber



by Allen M Weber

In the sudden night before the storm, a banditry foraged
beneath a low ceiling of marbled clouds—a sky that has you
take stock of your losses. We sorted through a box of letters
and photographs, considering the history of each.

Oak popped and whined in the wood stove. My wife paused,
solemn with a picture—my brother, on his final visit. In fading
color, black cap awry, he’s still hand-in-hand with our sons,
racing headlong to somewhere beyond the focus of my lens.

How quickly snow covers the seeds that towhees scatter
to the ground. I went outside to fill the feeder. A windfall
chickadee, deceived by the light from our kitchen, fluttered
against the window, until, worn out, he let himself fall.

I pressed my finger against his breast. He hopped on, tilted
his black-capped head, and fluffed against the cold.
Weary one, the darkness bewilders us all. I’ll shelter you
in the holly hedge; by now an owl is watching from the barn.


Allen lives in Hampton, Virginia, with his wife and sons. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies—including Changing Harm to Harmony: Bullies and Bystanders Project, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Fourth River, Naugatuck River Review, A Prairie Home Companion, Terrain, and Up the Staircase Quarterly.

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