Mallards paddle among lilies
make discontented noises
like ducks in the overhead bin
of a dream train, odd ducks
in a full pond, wings clipped
to hold them circling
beneath the little arched bridge
startled by the cry of feathers
as a critical bird in yellow tights
rises among rushes.

Notice chickens’ clock-like walk,
soft growls, gentle coo,
cacophony of cackle.
White pin feathers litter the yard
like early frost. Old rooster knows
he’s destined for coq-au-vin,
wine to soften his tough old flesh.
Does he foresee death
in the shining hatchet,
mad tarantella of his fellows?

Apricot canaries in a barred cage
long for the silk Ficus.
They are almost weightless.
Their souls are fragile and hollow –
paper wasp nests of incessant discontent.
Tiny feet are cold.
They who have never known a tree
play harmonica blues, minor key.
Would they sing so softly
submit so affably,
if they knew they were descendants
of invincible dinosaurs?