Sunday Afternoon in the Garden of Anthropos

In my garden I have entertained,
have been thrilled and calmed,
by their colors, their glamor,
by their endearing chatter—

the flights, flocks and frolics of birds,
some species as alien as humans
to this drag-lined desert,
as alien as we are to each other.

Goldfinches, grackles, sparrows, doves—
mourning, white wing, Inca, collared—
birds as alien as the mockingbirds and starlings,

or, native to the desert, hummingbirds
and the Gila woodpecker, both
alien instead to the plastic feeder.

Once, for a few weeks,
a lone remnant quail,
silent. No one to keen for.

In my workshop, my back and attention turned,
I hear now and then a whoosh of wings like a whirlwind.
The birds disappear.
.
In the accident of the garden, the trees
and feeders form such a comforting unity of temptation
that as I do, birds mistake garden for safety.

Just outside the cedar-plank fence
cats lurk to lurch.
Alien to everything and nothing—
cats preen.
The quail has disappeared.

I have the sense to be nervous about the garden’s birds.
Nevertheless, I mostly follow
the casual appetite of feral cats.

In me, in my cognate imitation of evolution—
secure in my fenced garden,
even my breathing is omnivorous
and insatiable.

I would rather remain human: humane as I was
brought up to be, or at least pretend.
I would leave the place of ease and temptation.

I would move away from here, but
I have nowhere to go
but everywhere.

For Anthropos,
wherever
is no place but everywhere.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom is the writer of six books, including Eumaeus Tends, and Selenity Book Four. His new book Sorgmantel, follows a view of Lucretius, but employs time, the predicate of physics, into a search for what can be imagined out of the possible and impossible. It can be read, perhaps, as an elegy for generations whose existence humankind is threatening, including humankind. Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.