Making Me

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the northern shrike


try as i might

imitate their rainbow coats

i am no chameleon

i am a bird

left in someone else’s nest

soft down molts

revealing colorless grey feathers

time only making it more obvious

i could never join their flock


the peck, peck, pecking

of strong beaks

descending on little fledgling heads

for singing off key

at least,

this flightless body

was never pushed out

always had a home


fresh wings

gave an old order

fly north

where the blistering winds blow

what these thick feathers were made for

if i fly high enough

make a nest of my own

an endangered species

no longer endangered


alone under a blazing sky

soaking up the blues, greens, purples

the night shows me the truth

i was never colorless

but colorblind

deprived of my sight

by the bright, obnoxious colors

of peacock feathers


denying the existence

of blues the shade of tidal pools

reds tinting clay at the edges of streams

purples the tone of clouds at dusk

yellows the color of lazy sunbeams

greens the hue of a moss-bed underfoot



on a peaceful day

in a storm

at dusk

at dawn

as many drab hues

as possibilities

just as deep

just as vast

i am the northern sky


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