Mockingbirds in December

Coming around the curve of the street,
I looked up and saw two grey mockingbirds
with white feathers in their tails
flirting and flitting in and out of the bright leaves
of a tree impossibly green in December.

Walking down a hill, on the left side of the street,
I paused in front of a stranger’s driveway
because a golden house-cat locked eyes with me,
a bird in his mouth, his teeth through her back—
a sparrow still alive but barely breathing.

When I reached home, I could hear the mockingbirds
singing as if nothing were wrong with the world.

Jane Beal
Benicia, CA


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