Fathom Mag

Birdwatching in Quarantine

A poem

Published on:
August 20, 2020
Read time:
1 min.
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The first days brought a Cooper’s hawk, wings covering
her chicks high in the neighbor’s hackberry
tree, her countenance unsparing as a death
sentence as she surveyed the treed canopy. 

And as days turned to weeks, the scarlet flame
that burns on the head of the yellowhammer
appeared again and again, pentecost
daily descending upon the tulip poplar,

and purple finches and goldfinches flew
in two-by-two, male and female they came,
followed by the blur of the summer’s first
ruby throat, humming despite our dismay.

On the fortieth day, rose-breasted grosbeaks-
a trio of them-took charge of the altar bearing
the birdseed and devoured the offered feast,
a kind of eucharist, at least for feathered things.

Julie Sumner
Julie Sumner is a writer who has worked as a critical care nurse, transplant coordinator, and massage therapist. She recently completed her MFA at Seattle Pacific University. Her work has appeared in Fathom, The Cresset, Juxtaprose, San Pedro River Review, Catalpa Magazine, and The Behemoth.

Cover image Fred Moon

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