One for Sorrow

“No, they’re nasty birds,” he said of magpies,
Seeing me feed some. One day his donkey,
Cut across his cross, had had the wound reopened by
A couple. I remember this when the flies
Lift and I recognize the form of the remains,
Maggots singing from its beak. I see no harm
In it. In death it even seems kind, suckling the swarm
Of fly-spawn abandoned by their own kin.
But while alive perhaps it was a troubling bird, stealing
Shiny toys from shiny children to sparkle it to sleep
In the cold branches, or cuckoo-like destroying
Others’ eggs, or plucking out the ripe round eyes of sheep…
Still, it looks innocent enough tonight.
I toss it in the ditch—its final flight.

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