Birding in a Violent Time

The first one was a flash
of red and green.
That was years ago
and each time afterwards
was just as bright.
So much has happened
since: insurrections,
war, somebody so desperate
to be heard he fired
a hundred rounds.
And always the news
broadcast during
a drive to quiet sycamores
until listening
made no difference. Trogon.
Chat. An unarmed man
shot dead. Phoebe.
Sniper attack.
Beardless-Tyrannulet. Heron.
Hawks circling above
the rough asymmetrical
mountain ranges. Wide
open space in a concealed
carry world. Yellowthroat.
Kingbird. Syria.
Iraq. Dallas. Cuckoo. Shock
becomes too common
to be shocking. Listen:
sunlight in the trees
turns into song and chatter.

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.