The Bird With The Messy Hairdo

The little grey bird with the messy hairdo 
faces the rising sun, toes fastened 
to the tallest fence post. Her tail tips
leisurely adjusting the air currents.
Tea balanced on my knee, dressed in 
grey loungewear, the viral style of 2021, I wait 
for clouds to pass, for something to distinguish
me from the grey everything of another day.
A gang of mosquitos threatens. I shoo
the buffet of them to the bird who nods 
appreciatively. I don’t know her name
and, at first, that lack doesn’t bother me. 
By the third morning visit – she’s practically 
family now – not knowing her name niggles. 
I identify her regularity but not who she is –
as a bird. Of course, she is not troubled by 
such thoughts. Humans, like ants in our 
ubiquity, must all look alike in our sweatshirts 
and stretch pants. To learn her identity I 
could tap my phone but choose to explore 
Peterson’s bird book, the slower route to
enlightenment, a process of illumination 
on a route ripe with possibilities in the adjacent 
pages. I find her – a tufted titmouse 
¬– and invite her to flip through glossy images 
where on page 194, in the Tyrant Flycatcher section, 
she locates me, just sixteen pages away 
– a little grey job, like her.

© Susanne Fletcher