A Development

Sarah Kennedy Click to

Sarah Kennedy is the author of the novels Self-Portrait, with Ghost and The Altarpiece, City of Ladies, and The King’s Sisters, Books in The Cross and the Crown series, set in Tudor England.  She has also published seven books of poems.  A professor of English at Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia, Kennedy holds a PhD in Renaissance Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing.  She has received grants from both the NEA, the NEH, and the VA Commission for the Arts.  Please visit Sarah at her website:  http://sarahkennedybooks.com

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.