Ann Michael



The woodpecker slams its
beak against the siding
as blizzard roils in the hollow
and drifts build up along
southwest corners of the garage.

I bang my fists on the interior wall,
trying to dissuade the bird
but a gale is churning
snow into an icy fog
hammering the small bodies
of the undomesticated
and this bird won’t listen
to anything but survival.

That’s how it is. Let the beasts
continue their native work
battering, scratching, gnawing
for the means to live another day.
Let the bird keep at it
long and hard enough to brutalize
a hole, perfectly round, through
cedar and fir, insulation and sheetrock

until both bird and blizzard
arrive in my living room—
frantic, alien—a flourish
of feathers and flakes. I let
my fear of what’s outside
come in.