* * *
I wonder if birds’ throats get sore
Let me try that again.
I wonder if birds ever get tired of calling
into the nothing; of being high above the tree
top canopy just looking for a way to get down.
A Song Sparrow, House Wren, Cedar Wax Wing.
One more time.
I wonder if birds know their latitudinal sub populations
by heart; I wonder if they can tell by the smell of Hickory
that they are supposed to be north, and then by the swell
of cold, back south. I wonder if there is a mechanism
in their throats which changes for a song versus a call.
I wonder if a male turns his throat like a clock to switch
to song, swooning a potential lover, and then for the call,
the hey she is mine. I wonder if birds are into monogamy.
There are Swallows above the water and I am thinking
of being swallowed alive by the mouth of a hungry bird
whose throat is sore. I am thinking about why there are not
more dead birds lying around when I hear they only live
for three or four years. I am thinking about collecting
their glossed wings, their tiny beaks, their sore throats,
and preparing burial sites for them all.
* * *
Olivia Kingery grows plants and words in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She is an MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University, where she reads for Passages North. When not writing, she is in the woods with her Chihuahua and Great Pyrenees.