Breaking News

My news of the day is
that a Red-naped sapsucker flew into
the pine next door, after none at all
had appeared last winter.
This I observed
and enjoyed in solitude,
as light caught the facial markings
and the bold streaks of white on its wings.
It moved around
the trunk, difficult to follow, before
emerging some feet higher
in the shade. It isn’t so rare
it makes a story, nor so common
that I’d take for granted
the presence of a bird that could,
for all I know, be the same one
from other years
when I was caught unawares as it flashed
into sight anywhere within
a mile from home. To have seen it
again is reassuring. Not a lot
of comfort in a drastic time,
but a thread to hold on to
while the wider world sends photographs
of bombings and despair
so regularly and focused in such
sharp detail as to leave the viewer
helpless. This picture, for example,
of a demonstration cut short
by an explosion
with many people standing, looking
down at the banners
they had brought to signal peace
and whose brilliant colors now
cover bodies on the ground.

David Chorlton lives in Phoenix and enjoys a view of the desert mountain that occupies its space surrounded by the city. He has had an unusual year in which watching the local wildlife has been a help in his recovery. Read other articles by David.