Bird Feeders

Photo Courtesy of Mike Taylor / Flickr

Bird Feeders

Old men grow hair from their noses and ears
and yet their voices are right and assured,
never asking what they’re worth.
While their wives wash the dishes,
men watch green parrots at the feeder fighting for crumbs.
Old women ache and list their problems like a rosary:
their health and the health of their husbands,
their ailing mother-in- laws.
Their daughters, what are they doing?
The rice is burning,
the children want something.
You are spread so thin,
only then are you worth something.
You are spread so thin,
your only accomplishments don’t call.
You are spread so thin your bones are ridden
with holes, the blood eats the calcium,
your eyes won’t make tears.
Your eyelids, like your mother’s, are fine sandpaper.
You have to add drops in the morning and night
to make up for the tears you forgot how to make.
Or maybe you used them up
watching birds go.

These women who marry silent men,
watching for signs, scanning for clouds,
I see them fight for crumbs like parrots,
until they see that today there will be nothing
and retreat to the phone lines to watch.
But then: I am not impartial. I always side with women,
seeing in their frowns my mother and grandmother,
the bulwarks of their careless mates.
They reach to flown children to be reassured,
and find themselves holding only birdseed.



Fiona* wrote this for Flux, an online forum for those of us encountering adulthood. She is the proud daughter of hippies and in a committed relationship with chocolate; she has a severe aversion to confrontation, shoes, and Adulting.

*Fiona is a pseudonym – this piece was written anonymously


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