portion of the artwork for William Doreski's poem

A Field Guide Just for You
William Doreski

Gone to the Dry Tortugas,
you’ve left a yellow residue
for dogs to sniff in wonder.

Two hundred species of birds
pause on their way to nesting grounds
in the US and Canada.

You peer at them through binoculars
assembled deep in Germany,
costing more than I make in a month.

The high polish of the lenses
guarantees that the rarest birds
will appear to you and you only.

I expect Instagram or Facebook
to flower with the photographs
with which you’ll educate me

in the plumage of brilliant species
I’ve rarely dreamed of spotting.
I expect to learn that rails, egrets,

bitterns, short and long-billed dowitchers.
phalaropes and terns have adopted
and made you an honorary bird.

Moorhens, kestrels, coots, plovers,
whimbrels, curlews, sanderlings, stilts,
shoverels, gadwells, red knots.

They must love the glossy gaze
of your expensive optics,
the click of your digital shutter.

You and you alone deserve these birds;
and when they’ve all gone extinct
in the roar and tumble of your wake

you’ll cry on my shoulder and leave
more of that yellow residue
that puzzles and sickens the dogs.


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 46 | Fall 2015