Friday, April 7, 2023

For Real

Is a robin an object?
Are you an object to it?
It eyes you from a fence post

In that side-eyed way birds have
That gives them the appearance
Of skeptics considering.

Neither of you belongs here
In the human sense belong—
No ownership and no rights,

Just hanging around this fence,
Each pausing in your circuit
Across other creatures’ turf.

If it weren’t alive, it would
Be an object, you suppose.
You scrutinize each other.

What the robin’s checking for,
You’re not sure, but for yourself
You think of a bit of fence

Just down the road, where ravens,
Big ones, perch on corner posts.
You drove past it a few times

Before you realized those birds
Were objects, mass-produced props
Meant to scare something away.

And here’s a real raven now
In the field, strutting, horkling,
Fluffed, the whole raven routine.

Real. If it’s not fooling you,
That makes it real? The robin
Swoops away and disappears.

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