Gale Acuff- Feathered – 3

by Gale Acuff

I don’t see any birds in the birdbath
now that it’s below freezing here and I
just emptied and refilled it, emptied out
a round chunk of ice like an upside-down
saucer. Three tea-kettles-full it took, too.
Three separate trips from the kitchen faucet,
three different trails of drops, going and coming.
Now I look through the dining room window

for the birds to show. Just because it’s cold,
even colder than cold, doesn’t mean they
aren’t thirsty, especially the robins
and whatever others haven’t flown away
for the winter. I know I can’t keep them.
I’d settle now for crows and starlings, but
all I found this morning firmly in ice
were leaves suspended, as if in their fall

from the pecan tree, each leaf like a wing.
Tomorrow I’ll try again–I’ll pry free
the saucer of ice and watch it shatter,
then refill the bowl for those who remain,
who never leave for a warmer country.


Gale Acuff has had poetry published in Ascent, Chiron Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Poem, Adirondack Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, Slant, Nebo, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, and many other journals. Gale has authored three books of poetry, all from BrickHouse Press: Buffalo Nickel, The Weight of the World, and The Story of My Lives.