Imagine a sparrow and the nipple
of an unlit Christmas bulb
underneath the pergola. Imagine her open beak,
the green-coated vine of wire
that wobbles beneath her in the shade

of slatted trellis. And how another
awaits the water drip, the sugar sap that isn’t there,
though rain refreshes the birdbath
where the dogbanes’ green-sheened backs drown,
their dead legs sticking up like tiny masts.

She ignores the Carolina jasmine, the bees,
the black-eyed Susan, and taps instead
that hard red millet-like, insect-like, grain-shaped,
stamen-stemmed, berry-orbed tip.

Why abandon what’s given her,
those dew-glazed and fibrous beetles and seeds
tucked between leaves and vines and grass?
And for what? The metallic clack of glass?

Say she’s so hunger-blind, she’ll suckle
anything. Say the one hovering behind
is intimating, Not there, but here. Say
she darts to the birdbath’s brim, eyes

the dogbane masts and bites. Imagine
the satisfaction, bird manna bursting
in her mouth, spilling into her body,
dispelling her patience for anything less.