A Gila woodpecker
approaches the peaceful station
of our vulnerable hummingbird feeder.
The woodpecker attacks, or seems to,
has no choice not to, no matter how peaceful
the bird is in his neighborly intentions.

Lacking the hummingbird’s instinct and skill
for control in stasis,
lacking a perch to sip politely from,
the clumsy woodpecker
catches such of our imitation nectar as it catches
by ramming itself against the plastic flower—

a battleship trying to nudge its way
alongside a poor fishermen’s wooden pier,
in just the careless manic discourtesy
by which the creatures who manufacture
imitation nectar and plastic blossoms
drive away the hummingbirds of nations—

the brute innocence of unexamined power.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.