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Zebra Finch at Petco

The male tweezes a bald millet stalk
off the sahara of graveled paper.

The pert watch movements of his head
ignite an ember on each cheek, buff bright

the beak's rose-hip hue. His elderberry eye
subjects this meter cubed of universe

to further scrutiny. The struggles of
a downy filament attract him.

With these two finds he alights, caresses
the injection-molded branch. But there is

no flaw to catch on, no way to make a start.
A problem he sets aside for the moment,

pinning it down with his foot. In the dusky
corner his mate dangles from brass wires,

mobile as a chandelier earring.
Extending her wing, she makes him

more to find, fussing
a small snow from the hot and pearly hollow.

Karen Holmberg

Axis Mundi
BkMk Press

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