While Walking

I am walking as befits
one of my generation, race
and gender: assuredly, with every
expectation I’ll reach home
without being assaulted or held
for questioning.
The sky is blue.
No alert has been issued today
warning of an imminent attack
and all that disturbs
the peace is the help
the neighbors have imported
to keep their lawns neat.
A Red-shafted flicker
dips in flight
between a pine tree
and a palm. I’m placing
one foot before another
along Encanto Boulevard
when a lone car
stops for the lights
with a window rolled down
and the driver nodding in time
with the amplified anger
pouring out into the sunshine.
The words blend indecipherably
with the surrounding
urban hum,
creating a mélange
of sounds, with hatred
beating its wing
against the air.

David Chorlton is a European who became a longtime resident of Phoenix and has developed an interest in the wildlife of the West. He has a recent book with watercolors and poems featuring the local birds, The Flying Desert. Read other articles by David.