The magpie, painted ebony black
and snow white, wears metallic blue
tailfeathers and sports a metallic blue bib.
What manners—to see this gentlebird
devour with beak and claw his supper.
When he tucked in for his first course,
he began by pulling out the feathers
one by one, from his prey,
like a child peeling off the wrapper
from a store-bought pastry
and setting aside bits of wrapper,
or like a French farmwife
removing the outer leaves
of fresh artichoke.
There was little pomp as the magpie
tugged out downy feathers.
Cars rounding the corner could not see
the fledgling and did not notice the magpie, who—
in his ebony black and ivory tuxedo
with metallic blue bowtie,
was dressed to kill.
Suddenly, the mother dove dropped from her nest
like a drone and blocked momentarily
her fledgling from the magpie’s reach.
In that instant, the fledgling lifted off,
and in one wild frantic effort to fly,
sailed over the sidewalk,
and landed several feet away
in the path of a moving vehicle,
which unceremoniously deprived
our gentlebird of his evening’s feast.