At opposite ends of the feeder,

dangling from the buckeye

by a sliver of jute,

a cardinal and indigo bunting

feed, seemingly oblivious

to the blue and scarlet other,

their self-absorption

an ongoing evolutionary tick

completed this very instant.

Birdseed falls into the tall grass

under the tree.

The cardinal flies off,

upsetting the feeder’s ballast.

It sways, wildly

at first, then less

and then less until less,

like a hypnotist’s gold watch,

while the bunting,

fading by degrees

into the falling blue spell

of evening remains

perfectly still.

— Joseph Bathanti

Joseph Bathanti served as North Carolina’s poet laureate 2012-2014. His most recent book is Light at the Seam.

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