I have told the Gila woodpecker – by Dawn Hogue

I have told the Gila woodpecker
he is not welcome at my red-topped
hummingbird feeder, but he ignores
me, as if there were not enough sap
in the old mesquite on the other side
of the wall, free for the pecking.
I see his beak, long and straight,
is also made for dipping into
the plastic wells. He balances on
the feeder top, sensibly, without rocking.
Maybe he knows too much motion will
slosh out all the sugar water I have made.
He barks at me, as if to say, “why not?”
And I can’t stop him. Nor can he stop
the fellows who were invited,
the emerald-headed or ruby-throated
little ones who click, click, click their
arrival, whose wings purr audibly,
as if they show off for him, knowing
he could never do what they do, hover,
weightless, sipping nectar in air.

Dawn Hogue is the principal and managing editor of Water’s Edge Press LLC. She is the author of the novels A Hollow Bone and Summit Road. Painting South Pier is her first full collection of poems. She is co-editor of From Everywhere a Little: A Migration Anthology. She is also a contributor to The Water Poems and The Aging Poems. Her poetry has been published in Stoneboat Literary Journal, Inscape Magazine, Verse Virtual, Blue Heron Review, and elsewhere. She is the 2017 recipient of the Hal Prize for poetry from Peninsula Pulse. Find more at dawnhogue.com.