Roger Pfingston has new poems in I-70 Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Main Street Rag, Dash, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Hamilton Stone Review. He is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards. His latest chapbook, What’s Given, is available from Kattywompus Press. In 2020 he was nominated for two Pushcart Awards.
Pleased with Themselves
“…familiar touch of the long-married….”
No matter the phone or someone’s knock,
they would still be busy knowing each other—
fifty-eight years married, lying there
in their eighty-year-old bodies.
Afternoon light glows in the closed blinds
as the neighbor on one side mows his lawn
while the young couple on the other water
their rain garden, their suburban chickens
coop-free for the moment, feeding
on a frenzy of Japanese beetles.
Laughing at the nearness of the mower—
if only he knew—they are pleased
with themselves, quilt and sheets
neatly pulled back though gently
rumpled, their bodies not glistening
really—more like a rare light—
as cumulus clouds dim the room
where touch still sweetens the hour.
A Fuss of Feathers
During the breeding season
the cowbird, a brood parasite,
is a sneaky layer of its one egg a day
into the nest of an unknowing host—not one
mama-bone in its dull-feathered body.
I give you this by way of saying
they are unwanted as Asian bush
honeysuckle in our backyard,
fussing over the suet, squealing
like piglets, spoiling the late
afternoon deck time until the pileated
woodpecker—not much of a singer
himself—swoops in to cling and hammer
at the caged cake of seeded fat, chips
scattering down to the ground feeders,
including a squirrel that’s given up
trying to climb the pole, a sticky mess
of Vaseline and ants stuck among
themselves, their SOS a frantic
touching of elbow-shaped antennae.
And now, here comes my wife—
the two of us empty nesters—
drinks in hand, shaking her head
and muttering something about quiet time
and what we need is one of those
silhouetted deterrents, hawk or owl….