The woman next door feeds birds
so she can watch them from her living room.
The several oaks before her house are graced
with tiny houses hanging, copper, wood
and plastic cylinders all filled with seeds,
sugar syrup, peanut butter and milled corn.
I think her weedless lawn is a poor host
to worms or bugs enough for bluebirds, robins–
mere ground-feeders who eat meat.
She’s vegetarian, so that’s all right with her.
From behind her curtain she would much prefer
to spy on the elusive types, those specimens
her bird-watcher associates compete to see.
The hummingbird is difficult to lure her way,
she has complained to me. I listen, but in matters avian
my ignorance is great. I tend to sound more than to sight,
and often stop what I am doing to delight in song
of bobolink or chickadee; I wake
with the dawn chorus, mourn with mourning doves
I’ve never seen. So when my neighbor called
this morning urging me to look outside because
at last her hummingbird had come–
I looked, I saw, but I was unimpressed.
Silly me, I thought I’d hear it hum.