The brand new whites are Great Egrets
The last new whites are becoming Seagulls
The stretched out knee-highs I want to believe are still Swans
The dark dresses are Blackbirds
The darks with gold dots are Starlings
The warm wools are Great Gray Owls
The sky coloreds are Mountain Bluebirds
The mismatched brown and tan form a Hawk
The orange ones for Browns Sundays are actually Orioles
The novelty flames are of course a Phoenix
And the bright argyles are The Imaginary Future Bird
I wear them out in the world
And at least my feet feel strong
And I need that
I saw a White Hawk, but I could not stop to look at it.
The White Hawk was perched on the cottonwood tree at the busy intersection, but I hadta drive right past it.
I only caught only a glimpse of the White Hawk, enough to say it could not have been anything else, but I could not slow down to get a closer look.
Hawks are not supposta be all white. There is no White Hawk in the Sibley Guide. This Hawk was one of a kind, but I could not pause to get out of the car and take a picture.
It was almost certainly a fantasy Hawk designed by The Gods just for me at that moment to fully understand the glory of nature, but I couldn’t witness it for more than a second.
I was busy going somewhere. I was going to the place I hadta be. I hadta be there on time. If I did not get there on time, it would inconvenience someone, it would hurt my reputation, it would get me in trouble, and no one there would care about White Hawks…
I’ve been very good lately, doing what I’m supposta even when I don’t like it. I patiently wait to watch the birds on the weekend and feel like I’m finally mature….
But that guy is still inside me, whether you want to call him a punk kid or a holy man, who believes he’s fully entitled to whatever any moment happens to offer, and he’s very disappointed…
What Are You Seeing?
Black Capped Chickadee
abundant North American bird
during all four seasons
“chickadee dee dee”
always right in front of you
witnesses this bird
it does not require
expertise persistence or good luck
like everything else we value
I was on the trail
just to watch
a wild living thing move
it was on the pine branch
right in front of me
I held up my binoculars
the chickadee flew
the chickadee sang
the chickadee bathed in a puddle
I looked even harder
to see if I could see its soul
the thing that connects all living beings together
Then I was interrupted by a jogging woman with a big dog.
“Oh my god!” she said, “what are you seeing?”
I’d had many interruptions like this before and knew just what to say…
“It’s a TIGER!” I told her. “They’re only supposta be in the jungle or the zoo, but there’s one right here. The Gods truly love us more today!”
She knew I was lying, rolled her eyes, and ran back down the trail with the intensity of an imaginary big cat.
I looked back at the tree and the chickadee was still there just for me.
There was a certain roundness
to its eyeball
that was probably its soul
I wish I could’ve shared it with the woman, but I’ve learned most people just don’t get it. She would’ve only ruined the beautiful creature with a disappointed “oh.”
Jonathan Montgomery was born in Akron, Ohio 1980. He graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and Naropa University. His books are Taxis & Shit and Pizzas and Mermaid. His websites are boulderpoetrytribe.com (local lit news), jonathan-montgomery.com (personal writing), and therealitytraveler.com (novel). He teaches English at Front Range Community College. He’s the 126th top birder in Boulder County, Colorado.