It is a rhythm we learn early enough:
    that bird’s quiet climb up a trunk
    is also its feeding hour; it is working
    for its transient stay in this palace
    of trees at the edge of the woods.

    From a porch, between sips of tea,
    the watcher espies the cuckoo dance
    on the tulip tree–a hop-skip-and-pick
    not unlike the hip-hop kids’ dancing
    away from embalming classrooms
    at end of day: hop-skip-and-pick

    pebbles to throw at a party of wrens
    that whirr noisily away, squawking
    mayhem at hallooing children who
    cackle at the frenzy as if they were
    born to raise hell, and for the fleeing
    birds to screech for mercy, mercy!

    The rhythm of a summer day: a bird
    on the tulip tree minding its business
    is scared silly by the clangor of a dump
    truck rattling through raven packs
    snatching trash from spilling bins
    that line up the street like pallbearers.

    Elsewhere in Tripoli, napalm bombs
    scare dumpsite scavengers picking up
    metal to shape the bullets for another
    day’s battle. Rhythms of a day, we call it.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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