It's true: you wake up one morning and they're gone,the flock of a hundred redpolls who swept in like Huns
with their tiny red caps and black moustaches,their breasts freckled and stippled like thrushes',
an irruption of redpolls you haven't seen in a decadeand may never see again in the disorderly parade
of your lifetime. How they intimidated the chickadees,the titmice, even the needle-nosed nuthatches,
batting your year-round faithfuls away from the feeder. How they chattered, snatching and flapping, rapacious
yet charming in their little red yarmulkes … you shiver, remembering, refilling the cylinder.
The sunflower seeds glisten like ebony.
O merciless January, where has the cohort gone?