“They’re just birds” is the casual cast-off
what can a bird feel?
Their brains are so much smaller than ours
yet they can recognize themselves in silvered mirrors
and groom themselves with their reflective assistance
like teenagers readying for prom
puffed up feather headdresses high as kites.
When a magpie dies, other magpies come
and dance around the body
they nudge it
call out to it
call out to the neighborhood of magpies
the fraternal nation of magpies
for miles around
and they all come together to sing a song of mourning.
They sing in a language we do not know
with words that signify a paean and hosanna
offering this feathered soul up to God
and asking for paradise to be blue skied and bountiful.
They then all at once – fly away.