Andrea Hollander: Wood Thrush


Wood Thrush

I’m walking the same dirt road to the mailbox,
a half-mile uphill and not a single house

unless you count the one a wood thrush is building
in some tree I can’t spot in these overgrown woods.

I’ve read such birds are monogamous
and it’s the female that builds the nest.

This one keeps flitting in and out of the tree-line,
debris of one kind or another stringing from her beak.

Females don’t sing. It’s males whose songs are so beautiful
one species is called the nightingale thrush.

I keep trudging up this hill every afternoon
hoping the mail lady has come in her blue jeep.

One day last week I waited for an hour. She took my letter
but gave back only an ad for a washing machine.

It doesn’t surprise me that the male can sing
two notes at once.

At the top of the hill I see she’s late again:
the little red flag I raised this morning is still up.

I wait in the shade of a nearby sycamore.
Behind me a pair of birds argues

the way we used to: trying reason first, then
pleading, screeching, until one of them thrashes away.

Europeans consider the wood thrush a vagrant.
It’s been weeks this time and still you’re not back.

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