Cardinal Spies Its Reflection in a Hub Cap

by John Grey

The bird doesn’t admire but threatens
its reflection –
a rival with scarlet top-notch raised

it hops about, girding itself
for battle, flicks its tail
back and forth like
a reaping hook, shrieks
a short, harsh kwut –

the cardinal marks its territory
as surely as the one
who parked
that ’77 Mustang,
polishes its preening act
as bright as the salacious chrome –

in for a kill
to equal all the kills
the bird slams its beak against
the steel of its reflection –

adversaries dart back sobered,
real bird to the wobbly sky,
metal bird into its fender.

© 2021 John Grey  All rights reserved.

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