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.