“Morning, My Privilege”

Read "Morning, My Privilege", a poem about gratitude at the start of the day.

Can it be said the birds are glad
I’m on the earth this morning,
called by the downy woodpecker’s
failure to contort himself for the last
crumbs of suet? As I add a fresh cake
and splash seed onto a plate
for the ground feeders, he and all
the others scatter, waiting till
I fill the hanging feeder, scrub
the heated birdbath, add clear water,
and disappear back into my kitchen.
Glad, perhaps. How can wings
Look anything but happy when
the bird returns to nab a seed,
and lifts off safely with its bounty.

Before my husband died, he named
each generosity he could perform
a privilege. As I watch each mourning
dove bow its head to feed, I partake
of the bittersweet seeds of memory—
the elderly neighbor’s walk
he always shoveled, the time he drove
our friends and their newborn home
from the hospital through a blizzard,
the tiny treats he tucked into
our colleagues’ inboxes, never once
expecting thanks or notice.

As each bird lands, I name them

blue jay,


My glad litany,
                        each filled beak
                                                my privilege.

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