What is that transparent

impenetrable barrier

like a plate glass window

that keeps the blue jay

from the cardinals nest

even though they visit

the same feeder in my backyard?


How do they know what they are

when they must see, as I do,

the variety of wings and colors

and songs?


What identification is theirs?

Is it the mirror of water or glass,

or some unmistakable pulse

that sets them apart?


Maybe it’s no different than

the way I am caught like a starling

in murmuration, unable to fly

out of sync into the independent air


where I watch you fly

with the solitary grace

of a golden bird above the rest of us—

and the wind in the sky

is like a boundary that keeps us

from falling in love.



DeMaris Gaunt


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