For the Birds (Strictly)

​​​​Strictly for the birds.  – Holden Caulfield   Easy to think of what’s different, what’s broken or chastened somehow   now that I’ve lived longer than my father ever did. No nightlights back then,   for example, those steady little stars we plant and grow about the house now   like nightflowers to make us less afraid. Just the moonlight then dreaming its way   inside the open window, the body of light lying like a hologram across the kitchen   floor, like some sleeping hobo, some vagrant vagrant, who’ll be sure to be gone   in the morning. And the feeder outside, barely visible, too early for the birds, hanging so long   and still, like the last Apache executed at dawn at Fort Yuma, Arizona in 1912   before World Wars began, like the fasces ax and olive branch on the Mercury Dime,   the one Wallace Stevens loved. Perhaps you were afraid too in that darker darkness   and could have used a little light, something to hold on to before the dawn,   some tiny votive burning just for the birds when everything seemed crazy, or   strictly for the birds, as you always said. Maybe you told them all that they were safe   and still alive, not dead, that soon enough it would be time to go to work, to sing.

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