The Spectacle (Rough Draft)

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downy-woodpecker-1251480_640

I watched the woodpecker
as he knocked on paneled wood
under the roof of our apartment
building. Before our discovery,
he was a lovesick ex-boyfriend
harassing our neighbor awake
with incessant knocking.
This morning, he cocked his head
to stare down at me when I whistled.

You know—I told my husband
this after breakfast, while balancing
a laptop on my knees—evolution
primed the Louisiana woodpecker for his name.
A spongy skull,
and clear fluid gel
prevents brain damage as he violently
rocks his whole body for hours, pounding
deep punctured signatures into wood.
And as we slept in the early hours,
thin goggles made from a clear
membrane protected his eyes less than a second
before the tiniest splinters flew off the
column and splattered past his beak.

He woke us up again last night.
He didn’t realize he was a distraction,
then a spectacle in a suburb. I thought
about reading more about him, but once he
was shooed by our landlord he found
an exit, so I’ll forget him before
rent is due on the weekend.

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