AT VCCA, I SEE A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER, AND THINK OF MARTHA SILANO,


because she taught me to connect
the synapse of the gargle of his song
to his manifestation as Bird;
contrary to his name, no red on the chest,
just the creamy buff of the underbelly
in some of Turnerís oil-lit clouds.
The red on his head bleeds from beak
to back, a jaunty cockade; his backís
a Jacobís ladder of black and white,
that old joke about the newspaper.
Do you remember newspapers? They arrived
with the dawn in a thump on your lawn,
rolled in a log, leaking ink that bloomed
on your hands. This morning deliquesces,
bleeds newness, the world becoming itself
again, even though the headlines repeat
themselves, and things are broken
that canít be repaired. I want to be more
like the woodpecker, knocking about his daily
business of extracting dinner from wood, doing
carpentry with a beak, then drumming, drumming
for the dumb fun of making music, the lubadub
of sound. And who, tomorrow morning,
will emerge from his home in a hollow tree,
and knock himself out all over again.

~Barbara Crooker
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