Acorn Woodpecker

Red cap, clown face, pupil in
a bullseye framed in black
that flows along the wings and down
its back, white
that flashes when it flies,
beak that beats
a steady rhythm in the bark
as it works to store away a stock
to last: the bird

is always busy. It never
makes itself scarce
among the oaks next
to streams running fast
in the spring
and its voice is a screech close
to chattering so constantly

that observers hear
the scents around them in its call.
There’s one
on a yucca stalk, another
clinging to
a dessicated stem,
and another bouncing

on sunlight. I once saw
a lady from Texas
with bouffant hair and high-
priced binoculars
look away because
she wanted something rare
to be her long awaited,

breathlessly anticipated,
five hundredth live
bird.

David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in England, and spent several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. He pursued his visual art and had several shows, as well as writing and publishing his poetry in magazines and collections, the latest of which is The Devil’s Sonata from FutureCycle Press. Although he became ever more interested in the desert and its wildlife, the shadow side of Vienna emerges in his fiction and The Taste of Fog, which was published by Rain Mountain Press.

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2 Responses to Acorn Woodpecker

  1. “observers hear
    the scents around them”
    Outstanding…this one will stay with me. Thank-you

  2. Lou says:

    Lovely! Wish I could see one.

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