House with Wings


A winter morning’s Cooper’s hawk
sends a chill of silence
through the Inca doves who know
when to disappear. They’re early
with the thrasher, whose call identifies
the yard as desert, even while pigeons
claim it for the city. We moved
into this house when Black widow spiders
held a lease on the crawl space
and lizards were lightning
on the orange tree trunk. The foundations
have shifted from Carter
to Reagan to Clinton to what
we have now, and mockingbirds
still line the darkness in spring
with the silver in their songs. The high
pitched chatter in the palm trees
turns green with a flash
of lovebirds, for whom the neighborhood
is almost Africa. When it’s late
for the sparrows and finches,
a few bats shred the air
with their wings, and the single
brown note from Abert’s towhee
is the sound of the sun going down.

By David Chorlton

rosy-faced lovebirds in Phoenix tree


David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications on- and off-line, and reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. His newest collection of poems is Bird on a Wire from Presa Press, and late in 2017 The Bitter Oleander Press will publish Shatter the Bell in my Ear, his translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant.

Photo of rosy-faced lovebirds in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, by the author

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