Why I Live in the Forest

Brendan Galvin Click to

bgalvin-40Brendan Galvin is the author of sixteen volumes of poems. His collection Habitat: New and Selected Poems 1965-2005 (LSU, 2006) was a finalist for the National Book Award. His crime novel, Wash-a-shores, is available on Amazon Kindle.  The Air’s Accomplices, a collection of new poems was released from LSU last year.  His Egg Island Almanac will appear in 2017.

As though I had walked into some
avian display, it hung on in profile
to the outside of the livingroom screen,
hooked in and as still as its effigy,
hoping perhaps to escape notice,
if warblers can hope. Already
betrayed by the white streak of
exclamation below it, a stranger
passing from the Maritimes
to Central America, secretive,
it was not a commonplace Pine Warbler
who sings like a sewing machine,
or a gaudy Yellow-rumped, but perhaps
one of those whose fresh music
can stop me in  my tracks. Olive above
and yellow as an Asian pear below,
with an iffy white eye-ring, I found it
in the genus Oporornis, between
the MacGillivrays’ and the Connecticut
Warblers, not yet into its first winter,
not yet crepe-faced to earn its name.
As it turned I said Mourning Warbler,
and looking head-on at me, it turned
again and fled for cover into the oaks,
saving me the recurrent heart-work of
trying to muffle it into a towel, or cut it
out of a fruit tree’s netting, or scoop it
from the cold belly of the woodstove.