Maybe this will stop her, the cardinal
who’s flinging herself at the windowpanes:
a row of cobalt bottles on each sill.
I thought she had lost her mate, lone widow
seeing herself—shadow of scarlet—in
the glass, or had eaten something toxic,
drunk the new asphalt’s runoff. But my friends
with houses of their own tell me she sees
a threat in the glass. She’s at the kitchen
now, frenzied and pecking. There’s a bloody
streak where she thudded and fell back, a slight
stain that the fluorescent light brightens to
gold. The mendicant cat from next door lies
in wait, paws cocked, by the porch, good soldier,
and beyond the yard, it’s true, the woods are
disappearing, black walnut trees siphoned
out for sale, the cedars knocked to rubble
because of their scrubby looks. The oaks still
offer some leaves, but their days are numbered—
opportunistic sumacs already
occupy the edges of the new lawns
with their cheerful for-sale-by-owner signs.
My blue warning is nothing so much as
a target, and the red bird’s back, backlit
by sun, shrieking into the living room.
She’s not even enticed by a feeder
full of sunflower seed. She acts like she
was here first. Acts like she owns the damned place.