Yellow-rumped warblers don't warble,
Apparently, on their peregrinations.
Dead ones, anyway. Or the
Kamikaze versions that play chicken
Over, over and over, with my windshield
Out on Highway 61. Stoic, those birds,
Like passengers on a bus I rode once
From Minneapolis to Coeur d'Alene. Sea-gulls
(Only God knows where they came from)
Manifested in the blue and took
Turns diving at the driver while we sped
Across the badlands, swooping at his
Rippled wheel, vaulting, claws last,
Over the roof, until one missed. Frac-
Tures hooped a starburst, sprays of
Fat, behind the rear-view mirror. Oh!
I howled, and was embarrassed. For me,
The silence of those others still echoes
Like cries from the dead.
When yellow-rumped warblers lose
The game, they go off so peaceably—
A bump, a bounce, no muss—it's possible,
I suppose, that the little souls only knocked
The glass to say hello. I slept through un-
Easy dreams and whatever gale it was
Killed the one my wife stroked on the shore
Rocks at Little Marais, over, over and
Over, without speaking, with a twig, sooth-
Ing something. Feathers in a mess, or
Something else. No fuss.