The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton
"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."
— Louis Armstrong
In the (quiet, cool) jazz of morning,
they come (again), searching for sustenance and substance,
for unexpected kindness, for remains of stale bread;
their heads twitching from side to side (and back) again,
dark eyes ever watchful, wings ever ready
for sudden flight away from (or toward)
something (or somewhere) else.
Their tiny barbed feet move swiftly,
more accustomed to jitterbug (or waltz) than tango;
they hook onto branches when storms threaten
their perch, their nest filled with (fragile eggs or)
hungry beaks chirping demands to fly, to discover,
to retrieve small and necessary things - perhaps
a ribbon or a worm, depending on their distinctive, instinctive need.
These diminutive, courageous birds call into the unseen beyond
and gather a swarm to ward off an arrogant hawk
attempting to invade their territories. Disgruntled, the hawk
abandons his pride, huffing his shame as he seeks an open field,
an unattended prairie, distant from this fierce flock of bold warriors.
On the (other) dark side of the glass, I sit and observe as they
(twirl) (swirl) curl away from (or toward) early fragmented light,
their jagged flight path known only to themselves,
this porch a mere haven for odd moments where remnants
of last night's dinner become a feast for the wild,
a smorgasbord of sonorous proportions.
They leave without looking back.