The Cohort

audioear pictureHear the author read this poem (in RealAudio)

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 decade
and 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?

Presented by

Maxine Kumin is the author of fourteen collections, including the recently published Jack and Other New Poems. She lives in New Hampshire.

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