Son of Bob*

 

The titmice took turns

feathering the feeder

alternating side to side

in a dance of spring

they knew by heart.

Then came the nuthatch

gliding on a wave of air

ahead of the north wind

announcing the storm.

 

The sparrows took cover

beneath cherry blossoms

while robins anticipated

luncheon on the sward.

Pickings were slim since Son

of Bob had done them in again.

Reared by the legendary "Southside

Ladron," tamed to submission

long ago, he was fearless

 

and bolder than without the grand

finesse, though deep in his bones

his mentor's artifice became

incarnate subterfuge.

No baffle slaked his appetite.

Dodging mocking bombadiers

he outraced all feline preditors.

If snares were laid below

he vaulted from the sycamore.

 

If waterspouts or slings were

launched, he'd bough-spring up

the maple to the sky unscathed.

His escape-return routine defined

the gestalt of the countryside.

His daily game erupted into

open warfare and Son of Bob

became our saving grace.

 

Pensioners awoke protesting monetary

ruin. Washers abandoned basements

for the sun. Couches were cleared

and multicolored sentinels dispatched

from Portage Road to Riverside.

On that day, hoping for a waxwing

I held him eye to eye at thirty paces

dangling from a willow until

a lightning bolt spliced the arbor

cleanly and joined him to his father.

 

Now in the neighborhood

only bird song crosses fences.

 

Jerome L. McElroy

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*Accepted in The Poet's Pen (late 1998)