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I love the barcode robe
of the downy woodpecker

his scannable double checker
garb, half ebony, half snow globe

impervious to device — no binocs or iPhone app
can reveal his inner world,

swooping from eon to branch to furled
bark, drilling his meal, sipping his sap

in late October, late in the day, midway to his winter haunt
perfect bird, unimproved, paused in the yard tree,

version o.o. Downy,
engrossed in myopic peck, you taunt

creatures like me who also poke and prod
and clench and stroke and tap at god.


This poem appears in First Do No Harm: Poems by Julia Shipley, Honeybee Press, 48 pages. $15.
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Julia Shipley


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