Jon Hoel

Birdsong operettas
filled with joy and concern

their perched branches,
hunting between weeds,
smoldered wetness
from the fallen leaves

Birdsong hits like
the hot hissing summer air,
unmoving, sweetness
that follows is eerie,
familiar in tune

within it: affection
comes a bitter currency
to consume, to console
life, an empty use-value

just for a little while.
So long, carte blanche.
When I scoop the bird

lifeless from the grass
into a shoebox, dead 
--someone's overzealous
strychnine pellets--I feel nothing,
I feel empty. What have we lost
in this prying, late capitalism?

Hundreds of sparrows.