by Loren Sundlee

The local terrorists eat my cherries,
grapes, and apples, steal nests of robins
and finches, swarm and multiply,
flourish on my labor, taking over,
each bandy leg a dagger,
each impertinent chirrup an anthem
that they are here and growing.

After dusk they besiege my maples,
drop their dirty bombs on my sidewalk;
at dawn they shark our ears with their cacophony
until in my slippers I thwack a spade
on the trunk and they explode
in shrapnel against a bluing, laggard day.
The government says have at them–
English sparrows, too: invaders all.

Some days I want to arm myself
with saw and ax, level orchard and vines,
pare the maples to stumps,
rid us of all the starlings crave, drive them
from our yard with my own meagerness,
grow a wasteland for my winning.

But on this morning, after the rain
that falls like forgiveness in this desert
I watch one on a low bough watching me,
his breast speckled, his usual fear
for this brief moment arrested, and I open
the fist of my hate palm upward,
fingers extending like wings
once, maybe more, but at least for now
to offer peace a place to light.

Loren Sundlee lives with his wife and two children in Yakima County, Washington.

Back to Issue Eight: Summer 2010