Here in Missouri


I miss my kitchen sink,

the white ribbon of water hissing from the faucet’s

slim neck, the black hose

with its trigger handle propped like a beached

sea-horse in one corner. I miss

the little dish that clicks so neatly

to the center of the drain, keeping the rejected

noodles and peas from slipping away.

Nine hundred miles from home,

I miss the turn-crank on the window,

where I watch three times each day

the feathered creatures come to peck

our suet block sandwiched

between wire and wood, suctioned to the

pane with plastic cups. The chickadees,

shy and deliberate, hang on with one

leg, peck around the edges, then flee

into the hedge. The nuthatch, a streamlined

black-capped clown, gulps great chunks

of fat, swallows, then zig-zags up

the trunk of a maple. The spotted

big-bodied flicker with the swipe of scarlet

on his head, plummets

from the nearest poplar and drills with German

precision into the thickest spot,

then strokes back home. Given wings

and the gift of navigation, the means

to traverse oceans and continents, they rest

year after year on this humble acre

where the laundry snaps on a metal tree,

and the water runs in ribbons through a basin

before heading out to sea.

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—Jen Bryant (originally published in Poet Lore)
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