Distraction Display

Nicholas Friedman

Some birds, to fend
against predators,
will fake a battered
or broken wing
to redirect
attention from
their young. If this
is evolution’s
best guess, well,
it’s not a bad one.
Just yesterday,
I saw a grackle
dragging a wing
like out-of-water
tackle, then rise
from a tuft of clover,
tracking with ripe
chokecherry eyes
as it flew up
and over me.
It lit in a maple
by a nest I’d failed,
at first, to notice—
a minor thing
to thank distraction
for, when it
came into focus.

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Nicholas Friedman’s first collection, Petty Theft, won the New Criterion Poetry Prize and will be published in fall 2018. Friedman is a Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University.

PN Review

May / June 2018


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Michael Schmidt

Deputy Editor
Andrew Lattimer

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