The neighbor’s buddy watching my screen through the window

by Emily

francine j. harris

Because the tube is turned to the window, the neighbor’s buddy coughs
a cough of pigeons. a hack of grackle. a bird out the window. It’s like

the neighbor’s buddy on my ledge, smoking. The neighbor’s chum in             the blinds,
the eyes that peer, the eyes that open. propped and sunglassed. a kind

of smoking blackbird, an inveterate

tombirder. His leather wings are splayed. his rock in the cold. He has             one foot on ice porch
and one foot wiggle. one foot rockerbird. a one-foot band. His cough is           the cough

of the myriad smoker, the murder of smoker. There is quiver of                       murder. His cough
is the cough of a white boy, northern. of a Michigan leather. of the                   white boy jacket,

his leather like hair. The air is gray like cig smoke. gray like ash.
gray with the onset of northern porchlike spring and its porchstep rain.         Wet

and snowy, the neighbor, his buddy in leather. like me, in leather. In a           wet snow,
rocking. in a porch band leather. leather in April. April wet and still,               one foot to the other.

There are a lot of reasons I love this poem, not least because it was inspired by Northern MI. The birds are people and people as birds, so well done.