Magpie Harm

They blind the lambs
these black and white birds,
traveling in pairs across the rain-dark lawn.
They’re dangerous and despicable,
argues my friend, recognizing
their cruelty year by year

as long as flocks have bred.
It is a cold day, a city
brittle with traffic.
Where is there a way
vehicle fumes and coal sweat
have not soiled?

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Two of the birds are searching
the grass beyond the stretching
chestnut tree roots, twin
assassins in the late afternoon.
And I get ready to tell my companion that

these birds take no joy in destruction,
nor in the agony of the new-born.
They gather new-minted pennies and
dazzling buttons, isn’t that the legend?

Planning nests of treasures,
they wing across the iron land
each evening, disappointed
in the taste of blood.

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