The birds have begun their sweeps over the neighborhood today before half its residents have stirred themselves from sleep. Before the mowers and roosters, beating the paperboy to the punch. Significantly it’s not just the blue jays, whom you and I would think of as the most likely suspects. No, even the mockingbirds have taken up this unknown cause, streaming down from up on high and screaming like firetrucks. This is not, they insist, to entertain the occasional wayward cat, so many of whom howl and paw up the trees at them. More than this they refuse to specify, but about one thing they’ve been honest: Look out, they say. Be sure of what you’re fighting for, because all the birds are preparing for war.
Poet Tyler Robert Sheldon is the author of five poetry collections including Driving Together (Meadowlark Books, 2018). He edits MockingHeart Review, and his work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Pleiades, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and other places. A Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of the Charles E. Walton Essay Award, he earned his MFA at McNeese State University. He lives in Baton Rouge. www.TylerRobertSheldon.com. Tyler’s newest book is When to Ask for Rain (Spartan, 2021), a Birdy Poetry Prize Finalist. He edits the journal MockingHeart Review, and his work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Quiddity, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and other places. He earned his MFA at McNeese State University, and is working on his PhD at LSU.
Guest Editor Lori Martin is associate professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, The Maine Review and upcoming in The Tampa Review. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly.
3 thoughts on “Bird-Honest by Tyler Robert Sheldon”
Really enjoyed this poem, Sheldon. I don’t really blame the birds or other species for attempting to take control of the world. Just hope we have earned enough good credit with them by keeping our cats inside and filling a bird feeder for years.
Your poem brought me a chuckle this morning. This is where humor, contemplation, and wisdom (“Be sure of what you’re fighting for…”) converge. Thanks for some good writin’!
Thanks, Alarie. I’m glad you liked the poem–and I think it’s only fitting that we one day cede control to the more peaceful animals, I suppose.