Literary Spotlight: David Hamilton

Literary Spotlight: David Hamilton

From WTP Vol. V #7

Titmouse Turns
By David Hamilton

away.  He didn’t
fly off but turned
his back on me
to sit still
on the limb from which
my feeder dangles.
I say he,
but it could be she,
you can’t really tell,
but I’ll guess he
who looks a bit sad,
staring out
on my back yard.
Or let’s say ours.
Now and then
he turns his head
to keep an eye
on me. I wonder
whether he
is ill. They never
hang around
but take a single
seed to a nearby
limb and crack
it open to eat
right there.
They’ll return
for five or six
in a row, and once
one carried, again
and again, his one
seed burden to
a farther tree
and kept coming back
for more. Feeding
his chicks, perhaps.
Or, this early
in the year,
his mate sitting
their eggs.
This one seems spent,
a pensioner
like me, on his bench,
in his park,
in his morning coat,
all gray, well-worn,
a waistcoat, beige,
unbuttoned, white
shirt—his brisk
black eye
turns on me
again—black too
his tuft, that cap
He’s here all
year round though absent
for days at a time,
enough to think
him gone, gone,
forever, lost,
though it’s I
who fails to be
on watch when he
drops by. Why he
I find so special?
De gustibus
aut bene, aut nihil,”
Chekhov turned
the phrase, meaning
I could weep
to turn away
from yet another
one down on his luck
holding out
at the traffic light,
his cardboard sign,
“Anything helps.”

David Hamilton is the author of Deep River: A Memoir of a Missouri Farm, Ossabaw, a volume of poems, The Least Hinge and A Hole in Air, both chapbooks; former editor of The Iowa Review and director of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program. 

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