Dear America

Because of open woodland
With quivering sun patches
Where a bird’s eye might observe a worm
Chiseling under earth’s
Skin—because of granite boulders
Specked by egg cases holding
Spiderlings—because of purple berries
Come sweet in July—chokecherry
Shadblow  Nanking
Hips and haws ripening—
Branch nesters build summer nurseries
On the face of our cabin—the same family
Every year or their progeny
On ridgepole  purloin  crossbeam
Sensitive to each human gesture
On the inside of the glass and when men
Come to paint the fascia or spray
The log base and its foundation
The nester will abandon her clutch
Of eggs—blued by mineral blood—
And begin to weave a new nest
High above squirrels and house cats
For aren’t we all pattern-making animals—
Make a beautiful thing—you’ve done all you can
To battle—a friend said to me
And a people-adapted species—
Nuthatch or chickadee or these
Robins—become a kind of mother country—
Like you America—offering a body each day
For someone to make a waste land—
I would like to weave with the surety
Of that robin—only a heartbeat
And wrist wing to shape her nest—
Come greed come windstorm begin again
Your shaggy cup of mud and spider web




Sandra AlcosserSandra Alcosser’s books of poetry, A Fish to Feed All Hunger and Except by Nature, received the highest honors from the National Poetry Series, Academy of American Poets, Associated Writing Programs, as well as the Larry Levis Award and the William Stafford Award for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She received two individual artist fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and was the NEA’s first Conservation Poet for the Wildlife Conservation Society and Poets House, New York, as well as Montana’s first poet laureate and recipient of the Merriam Award for Distinguished Contribution to Montana Literature. She founded and directs San Diego State University’s MFA each fall and lives in Florence, Montana.

Header photo of nest courtesy Pixabay.

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