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