The Sandpiper and the Fool


A sandpiper snaps
into a turn
and sprints
around the beach
Mad to find some morsel
underneath the sand.

She pushes down
her beak,


angles off
in some direction,

And pokes
the beach again.

Ah, but now—
a bit of flesh.
A spike of violence
keeps her there
a millisecond longer
to grip the meat
and eat

Then it’s back
to simple madness.

Mapping out the beach’s
colonies of unseen
sandy creatures
beak-sized chunk by
beak-sized chunk.

A man is walking by observing how
a little bird so inefficiently
explores this world.

How it could never know the way a human knows
the morning light through heavy clouds,
the beating ocean, close and menacing.

How the universe to it
is sex, and food, and danger.

But then,
blind to human rumination,
the tiny bird
snaps herself again
into a sprint
toward the waves,
she plunges
deep enough, it seems,
to be sucked out to sea.

But, instead, she saunters
back to shore
a wave nipping at her bony foot
with blank, inhuman joy.

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