Poet’s Corner

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Catbirds
By Donald Nitchie

They show up every year around this time
like pushy tourists at the bar—
Over here! HERE!
Their raspy mews like fingers
in my ears. They wait

above the feeder, eyeing me
warily, as if to say,
We’ll eat whatever you bring us,
just don’t think we’ll be pals.

I give them space—
the bolder ones, then the timid,
balancing the raisins in their beaks
before taking off, leaving room for the next.

In their tight grey outfits
and black-capped tops, they remind me
of bellhops in old movies,
with stained undertails
as if they’d sat in something,
and you can’t tell the boys from girls.

Drab, the book says, but with personality.
I’ll say! With their grand entrances
and abrupt departures—sailing
quickly out of the yard
as if they’ve lifted my wallet.

Donald Nitchie lives in Chilmark. and has led poetry writing workshops on the Vineyard for the past 25 years. His poetry collection, “Driving Lessons,” was published by Pudding House in 2008.

Poets with a connection to Martha’s Vineyard are encouraged to submit poems to curator Laura Roosevelt at ldroosevelt@gmail.com.