Like the Birds
So much of what we are is talk,
which means we’re of a feather with anyone
yammering all day from rooftops.
No one knows for sure why they do it, those loud birds,
though it seems biological—they’re probably
hungry or territorial, worried about
fading sexual prowess or feathery investments.
We know, at least, that it’s not happiness.
The purple martin, for instance,
who skims the early morning with his song,
is asking his neighbors to stay the hell away.
Studies tell us this: all the complex,
laser-like chirping, all the chest-puffing
and oily coo-cooing, could be translated “I want you”
or perhaps “I’m afraid of you.”