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The Gathering
by Mary Jo Balistreri

My husband sections our morning
grapefruit. I make coffee.
He fills the feeders as I water
Christmas cactus and amaryllis.
We sit down to breakfast with birds.

Nuthatches join us first, take a few seeds
but are too busy to perch. Juncos hop around,
clean off the white plate of snow.
Chickadees relax and chatter.
The downy woodpecker hammers home his point.

The gray-robed mourning dove like one of nature's
gods, goes out on a limb—eight manifestations
commune in the cold—Unmoving in white-capped
branches, they model stillness, offer presence
that mirrors the vastness of the land.


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