“White-Breasted Nuthatch” by Charles Weld

Agile as a yogi, and with a squirrel’s ability
to run head first down the trunk of a tree,
this over-dressed bird—white tie and gray cutaway—
doesn’t let spruceness get in the way
of continual snacking which usually means snatching
a seed from a tray, retreating to a branch
to wedge it in a crevice, and dispatch it
there by hacking or hatching with a bill like a hatchet.
I’ve heard that nuthatches are also good at catching
falling mast in midair, a handy talent in nut avalanche
years. Their yank yank has the clarity of a coxswain’s
command, calling us, as autumn begins
its work on the woodland, to pull hard, not numb
or otherwise try to escape from what we know is to come.



Charles Weld has appeared in many literary magazines: Snakeskin, Southern Poetry Review, The Evansville Review, Worcester Review, Tampa Review, CT Review, Friends Journal, Vita Brevis, Better Than Starbucks, etc. Pudding House published a chapbook of his poems, Country I Would Settle In, in 2004. Kattywompus Press published another chapbook, Who Cooks For You? in 2012. His poems were included in FootHills Publishing’s anthology Birdsong in 2017. A retired mental health counselor/administrator now working part-time in an agency treating youth, Charles lives in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.

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