Lives Not Our Own

I watch the birds
to find out the news:
who’s fat and ready
for the holidays in his bright coat,
who likes a bath after dinner.
These autumn days the robins
are flocking and the starlings frighten
people who walk under the trees and think
they hear far-away screaming.
Chickadees arrow in, take one seed,
and leave; a wren drops her careful selection
and searches for it on the ground.
I know no one’s interested
in the play-by-play of lives not their own,
but—it must matter, what we feed ourselves with.
What we hold in our mouths
and swallow down before the storm.

Katherine Riegel is the author of Letters to Colin Firth, What the Mouth Was Made For, and Castaway. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Brevity, The Offing, Orion, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is co-founder and poetry editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection, and she blogs with a collective of women writers at The Gloria Sirens.

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