The Nobody Bird — by Marjorie Saiser

I’m nobody! Who are you?

        – Emily Dickinson

The woman leading the bird walk

is excited because she thinks

for a minute the bird

is one she doesn’t have

on her life list

and then she says Oh it’s

just a dickcissel.

I raise my binoculars

to bring the black throat patch

and dark eye

into the center of a circle.

I see how the dickcissel

clings to a stem

when he sings, how

he tilts his head back,

opens his throat.

The group follows

the leader to higher ground.

The wind comes up; white blossoms

of the elderberry dip and

right themselves in a rocking motion

again and again. An oriole

flies into the cottonwood,

the gray catbird into

the tossing ripening sumac.

The nobody bird

holds on,

holds on and sings.

~ Marjorie Saiser

Marjorie Saiser’s most recent book is I Have Nothing to Say About Fire (The Backwaters Press, 2016). Saiser’s poems have been published in Poetry East, Poet Lore, RHINO, Rattle, Nimrod, Mud Season Review, Fourth River, The Writer’s Almanac, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, and at

William Sheldon lives in Hutchinson, Kansas where he teaches and writes. His poetry and prose have been published widely in such journals as Blue Mesa Review, Columbia, New Letters, and Prairie Schooner. He is the author of two books of poetry, Retrieving Old Bones (Woodley, 2002) and Rain Comes Riding (Mammoth, 2011), as well as a chapbook, Into Distant Grass (Oil Hill, 2009). Retrieving Old Bones was a Kansas City Star Noteworthy Book for 2002 and is listed as one of the Great Plains Alliance’s Great Books of the Great Plains.


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