In the Woodpile

Ken Tomaro​

next to the woodpile was a small bench

the wood slats were in rough shape but still in one piece

and the bird feeder hung over the front of the bench

bobbing up and down each time the birds went to feed


as if someone had rung the dinner bell

they all came from nowhere

all at once to gorge themselves            

the smaller finches pecked at the ground scraps

while a healthy fat squirrel sat on the old bench 

unfazed and stuffing his face 

with the never ending buffet of seeds


there were several blue jays, eight to be exact 

swarming at the base of a tree toward the back of the yard

after much deliberation, wondering what they could be after- ants, bugs…a dead animal 

another squirrel snuck into the swarm 

and casually walked away with what looked to be

a large piece of bread in its mouth


two cardinals were eating at another feeder

hanging from the corner of the garage

occasionally a small finch would join them

and the two cardinals weren’t bothered by it at all


at one point I had noticed

they were all sitting on or around the bench together peacefully

I began to ponder humans…the dominant species

how when we are put together

we want nothing more than to cause a commotion

chaos, anger, destruction, etc.

when we are surrounded by cubicle walls

we talk loudly over one another

when we sit side by side on the train or a bus

we put our heads down not wanting to be bothered

when our opinions differ we throw our fists


I gave thought to the phrase bird brained

the negativity of it

the idea it was meant as a sign of lesser intelligence


but in this particular moment

this particular day

after watching for an hour, this little animal show

how they foraged and played together

how they shared with each other

how there was no bloodshed or arguments

I did not see being bird brained as a bad thing at all

Ken Tomaro is an artist and writer living in Cleveland, Ohio. His work has been published in The Light Ekphrastic, Tipton Poetry Journal, Blue Lake Review, Sincerely Magazine as well as several other literary journals. He has also published three collections of poetry, Your Dog Called, Your Wife’s on Fire, Drowning in My Shorts and How To Tape a Snickers to the Wall (So You Can Take a Nap) available on Amazon. He writes with the bitterness of Charles Bukowski, the peculiarity of Harvey Pekar and his work centers around everyday life with a heavy dose of depression.