Cardinals are like alarm clocks
in the morning,
their shrill digital birdsong mocks
and my lover abed cusses
those crimson birds,
fidgets under sheets, and fusses,
using choice words.
She hates cardinals, like a cat
that wants to leap
and snatch them from trees, (just like that),
so she can sleep.
But cardinals are a great pox,
or Chinese goods,
and cats cannot hunt all the clocks
filling the woods.
While driving to work one Monday
a red flash swooped
to use my car as a runway,
I did not hear a thud, or cry,
and did not stop,
but the next day I found out why
there’d been no “pop!”
The cardinal was in my grille,
dead, of course, head
stuck in the silver teeth, its bill
silent and red.
Its body hung limply out front
like a hung man
and I marveled at its dumb stunt—
I was a fan.
So I put on a rubber glove,
pulled its body,
twisted and yanked, gave it a shove,
but ’twas shoddy
and tore open along the neck,
feather and bone
being flimsy natural tech;
I gave a groan.
The head stayed in the grille, apart
from the torso,
like some Francisco Goya art,
except more so.
Alarm clocks are like that, it seems,
made cheap and fast,
obnoxious, waking us from dreams,
but they don’t last.
Nonetheless, there are always more
to wake us yet,
chirping birds just outside the door,
lest we forget
to set our alarms for first light,
shrill notes to wake
us from the sleep of a good night,
should more such break.