Paula Bohince


Consider three orioles—
black and orange in virgin snow,
definite against vapor—
as a single oriole
with a triune nature:
one on the fence, divider
of gifts, another who is pure
ornament, posed stoically
on the fir,
and a third who is wise,
the oracle
playing against his fate—
dashing from feeder to feeder,
pummeling the seed bell.
I love these firebirds
for their toughness, for resisting
my usual lens of pity,
who frighten me
as the football players used to
years ago, in church—
their bruised bodies
suited onto an opposite field,
who stood among us,
alarmingly still.

Paula Bohince
Oriole first appeared in The National Poetry Review, Fall/Winter 2004.