Hey, Mr. Woodpecker, backyard king
smart red head, dat dat dat-ing
on the metal flashing surrounding my chimney
the sound reverberating through the house
making me think I should run for cover
or, you dat dat dat at the metal railing
or the dead oak branches where you,
knowing there’s no charity come winter,
endlessly store acorns into holes
that you’ve drilled
never ceasing your dat dat dat-ing.
You must have quite a memory to remember
just where those thousands of acorns are stashed
and a perfectionist you are.
If any acorn doesn’t fit just right
into the hole you’ve stuck it in
you’ll grab it, twist it around, poke it in tighter, and
if you’re still not satisfied, you’ll peck a new hole
move that misfitting acorn before you check the next one.
I watch you daily
watch you dive-bomb the squirrels who
hang out in your tree, eat your suet.
I know your habits
expect no surprises.
You are, unlike me,
perfectly evolved to match your environment.
I watch you watch the hummingbirds
at their feeder attached to my kitchen window
tended to daily by me
and you must think
how easy life could be if
you didn’t have to drill those thousands of holes
in hard dead wood
so you launch your oversized body
to perch on the window ledge near
the hummer’s feeder,
you poke your big, hole-drilling beak into the tiny openings
made for an entirely different kind of bill
I thought of no surprises
sit there, sipping the sugary sweet nectar
figuring life will be easier from now on.
© by Nanci Lee Woody.
Used with the author’s permission.