<- Back to main page


by Matthew J. Spireng


There was that winter I stood outdoors

in the snow as if a statue with one hand

extended, palm up, sunflower seeds offered


to whatever birds would come. Chickadees

eventually trusted enough so they'd land

on my hand, take a seed and fly off


to a nearby branch where they'd open

the shell, extract the seed, and fly off again

to a shingle on the house or the trunk


of a tree with a bit of loose bark and hide

the seed. It seemed I never noticed the cold,

though I would stand in the snow a very long time,


sometimes just offering an empty hand to see if

they would come without an offering. Some would still

land on my hand, but I could tell as they looked


and looked and then flew off that what they had

come for was not me. Still, their touch

kept me returning day after day for more.