The Killdeer

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Tim Bleecker

Inaptly named, though dagger billed,
the killdeer shrieks her plaintive cry,
bobs her body—tail dipped, head high—
in pacifistic vehemence, filled

with guile. Who taught her to be wise?
How thrilling to watch her flashing black
and white as the object of her attack,
pinned down by her orange-circled eyes.

Quicker than the leap of my heart
she’s in retreat, has lost all flight.
Her orange tail, barred and tipped by white,
spreads and drags; bent wings complete the part.

Behind, four eggs of granite squat
in hollowed dirt. Attempts to save
by fierce attack or helpless act
alike are strategies of love,
which makes most men do stranger things than that.

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