In Dead Grass

In the field of dead Johnson grass,
The red-winged blackbird landed.
It swayed the desert-colored stalks
With its weight, then held its place.

Like a swollen tick plucked from a dog
Then dropped, it did not move.
From this distance, I could not see
What suspended it there, what attraction.

Remember when I told you no,
I became that tightrope walker
Because I said yes to someone else
And yes in a different way to another.

The blackbird holds strong in the wind.
The grass’s poison isn’t harmful to birds.
Maybe it’s checking its balance
Against the stiff reeds, toughening up.

I keep watching to see how long
It will last. Is it trapped? No. It turns
Completely around. This way of being
Is not new to it. It will not falter.

–Shaun Perkins

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