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Sunday, December 30, 2018


by Mary K O'Melveny

"US withdrawal from Syria will endanger Kurds, Arabs, Christians," —by Amy Austin Holmes, The Hill, December 27, 2018. Photo: Kurdish demonstrators gather to protest near the border wall separating Turkey from Syria in the western Syrian countryside of Ras al-Ain. (AFP Photo/Delil souleiman via Yahoo, December 20, 2018)

This year there is only
rain. Birds, bedraggled by
blowing wind and soggy
air, take no solace in
pumpkin seeds or suet.
Even squirrels have turned
away from our handouts,
as if they know better

than to accept comfort
from temporary stores
of millet and cracked corn,
knowing that our tenure
here is short, that we will
leave these feeders empty
soon enough. Nuthatches,
Jays, Sparrows, Woodpeckers

used to be reliable
friends. Their antics pleased us
as we dispatched more treats,
watched them from our windows
in warmth and safety. Though
we feigned otherwise, we
owned both feast and famine.
How we must have amused

those who watched us place each
scrap and kernel into
wooden boxes and tin
containers, dangle them
from porches and branches,
so sure of flocks to come.
We were eager for praise,
shocked when no one believed.

Mary K O'Melveny is a recently retired labor rights attorney who lives in Washington DC and Woodstock NY.  Her work has appeared in various print and on-line journals. Her first poetry chapbook A Woman of a Certain Age is available from Finishing Line Press.