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by Joseph Milosch

What we know
about the mocking bird
is next to nothing.

John says the bird mimics
everything it hears: a chainsaw,
a Jeep wrenching an iron post,
the squeaking of a wooden gate.

His wife says the bird mimics
only the animals it hears:
a feral cat, calling out its young,
and from her room, a woman
moaning in the early morning rain.

Ornithologists say that
a mocking bird mimics
other birds to confuse
birds of prey.

My wife says she doesn’t care
what the mocking bird mimics
as long as it sings its song
somewhere far from us.

Perhaps, I respond, the mocking bird
was a raven in another life.
Having stolen the eggs
and the young of other birds,
it’s condemned to sing songs
of the birds it terrorized and to fly
from tree to tree fleeing the bird it was.

This morning mist seemed trapped
between being fog or drizzle
and I heard a mocking bird,
sobbing in the orange tree.

Posted in Poetry

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