Victoria Korth: Bicknell’s Thrush

The Finch Pruyn lands are home to over ninety species of birds,
including the imperiled Bicknell’s thrush.
— Nature Conservancy Newsletter

I read in a rush to help as this nearly weightless thing, balanced
on fine, electric legs, beak wide, creamy breast feathers dappled
with spots that mimic the shadows of leaves, sings to me.

More penetrant than an oboe, urgent, sweet, territorial, settling
a boundary with other males, composing the central portion of its song
with a purpose not yet understood, it is imperiled and I, with it, in peril.

Having heard John’s gospel read each year for forty years, somehow
today, behind the autistic parishioners who stretch back touching us,
I hear why no one recognized him, except the women, who were silent.

I would like to hear the naked thrush before there are no more.
I would like to fly up towards it with more than my portion of joy,
glancing through arched branches for its flame-like head, unfurling
from the center of my life into brief persistent song.

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