Janice D. Soderling

Concerning the Limits of Love and Friendship

From rimfrosted branch to branch, chickadees
flit, spending their strength. They launch stupidly
to the neighbor's feeder, and back again
to perch in the keening wind. Look deep into
the filigreed beauty, look under the wonderful
plumage and you'll find fear and a pecking order,
greed and gnawing hunger, a brittle frozen song.
Their little hearts beat like yours and mine,
though faster. Their brains are only bird brains.
You and I, being homo sapiens sapiens,
are infinitely smarter; we understand winter,
recognize cunning and know the numbness it brings.
Ice kills prettily, without need or purpose.
Pity these huddled birds, husband.
It is nearly dusk now and bitter cold.