Snowbound: Filling the Feeder (a new poem by Janet Grace Riehl)
A foot of snow atop our bluff: Evergreen Heights, Jersey Township, SW Illinois.
Mother, that which you filled and then emptied,
we fill again as best we can.
Your chair hold us at the wheelhouse hub,
yet a glance windowward unfolds and holds worlds beyond.
This morning's world insulated in a snowy rug.
Cardinal families flit-flash at the new-fangled feeders
Daddy fills in your name.
He bustles in, shakes himself,
like an old dog in a new body:
"I like going out in the cold to feed the birds.
Keeps me in touch with the real world."
Outside the kitchen window
the floor of the wooden feeder rots.
the prettiest woodpecker one could hope to find,
dined under its tin roof.
In those times of regular butchering
we filled suet baskets easily.
Now, with everything shipped under plastic
where could you get suet
Daddy says persistent squirrels
baned the old feeder in later years.
In came the plastic urns.
In his day, the feeder rested
on the other side of the house.
No squirrels climbed there,
but its harder to commune, too.
Titmice pick at their feed outside the window.
Dressed in neutral mix and match,
they fade into place.
Evergreens bough down under the snow weight.
Below our bluffline, River Road traffic.
Beyond the island, power plant rumblings.
Even snowbound and serene
the world and its noise travels to us.
We do our best mother,
to fill again
that which you filled
and then emptied.
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