Oriole Report

Meg Kearney

Orioles “often use man-made materials for their nests, so
the ornithologist Alexander Wilson warned women to keep
‘narrowly watching their thread that may chance to be out bleaching.’”
—from 100 Birds and How They Got Their Names

To build their nest they stole my mother’s cigarettes.
Next they snagged her booze. They took her heating
pads and measuring cups. Plucked her blood-soaked
tissues, bright as carnations, from the waste basket;
they took her shopping list, zip-up boots, Katrina
the cat, feeding tube. Her glasses and the book on her
lap. Filched her Sweet Dreams Tea, her Field Guide
to Birds. It wasn’t all in this order, but they stole her
Easter wreath, the tumor in her throat, ironing board,
perfect penmanship, black-silk slip, her late-night bowl
of ice cream & Cool Whip. They tried to take her last
words, but she snatched those back, took those with her.