chuckling to themselves in the mock orange
sunrise that peeps in from East Tampa.
For weeks I walk off mourning as dawn feathers the sky
and the roosters begin their bugle calls:
one perched in the weeping willow,
one roosting in the live oak on Violet Street,
one scratching on the shore of the pond,
we call Lake Roberta.
Puffed up and acting put-upon,
they set up their crows like pinballs
and fire away, one to the other to the other,
full throttle blasts that zing
across pond, brick streets and bungalows.
You, you are you!
Blue, blue are you?
Who, who are you?
And I’m wondering that myself, balancing grief
like hand weights, as these orange sprays of spunk
pull back the plungers of their throats
and let those morning shout-outs fly.
Scrawny and struttin’ like they’re somebody,
they are littler than the cats,
not bigger than a breadbox,
full of themselves, boasting their black
tail feathers to the ducklings,
the blue jays, the lizards ruffling their red neck scarves
as I walk round and round the pond,
counter-clockwise, to the before-sad,
inside this triangle of neighborly crowing
that’s just plain funny, the arrogant little things,
prancing ‘cause they ain’t afraid of nobody,
Who are you, you?
You are who, who?
I’ve got the whole mornin’ in my voice.