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or rat-tails or poor penmanship. Miss Moss-Ayad wouldn’t stand for it.
A far cry from now in the backyard, cheeks on the ledge

of a seat. Shoulders slumped.

Watching a siskin on a Boxelder as upright as any siskin.
Same demeanor, same posture as every siskin I’ve ever seen.

And on a wire, a siskin, as upright as any siskin.
Same demeanor. Same posture.

Same as every other siskin ever on any Boxelder tree.
Neither bird with deference in display, nor

admiration of the other, nor appropriate inferiority
complex. Rather stood as equals.

As if neither siskin had ever read
Darwin’s notes from the H.M.S. Beagle, nor considered their genetic favorability quotient.

Didn’t know they were competitors, even.
For the early worm. For seed. For cloacal kisses.

Not a single siskin pointing an outstretched wing singing,
“Nanna nanna boo-boo,” or cheering itself, “Rah rah sis boom bah.”

Or giving one, or the other, the bird.
If so, the vantage from my lawn-chair might be something other than a backyard perch.

Might be the front-yard, where I got my ass kicked
the first time right before sprinting into the house all weepy-eyed

frantically rifling for something to level the odds—a baseball bat, perhaps.
Came out swinging an Encyclopedia Britannica before the wind

got knocked out of me. The slump.
The din of cackling cocks and hens disco dancing in a ring-around a nosedive.

First published May 2, 2013 The Curator.