The Flicker

 by Nancy Takacs

As I bend
for cut ribbons

or stand peeling
an eggplant

each December
I catch the tip

of his gray wing
through my glass

door, then his red
and yellow back.

I know then
who he is.

He's already
landed when

I see him, his body
bigger than a crow's

though more slender
and coming to a dull point.

Now I'm used
to seeing him:

two weeks
near my apple tree,

he worries it for some
living thing

to make it
through the day on.

I could almost love
this flicker, his

blunt grace, how
I can't find his edge,

the all-day tapping
I can't stand to hear.

As I put
a pitcher away

one day
during these

white skies

that won't quite

lift, I catch him


from Juniper