The Girl Who Collected Abandoned Birds’ Nests
By mid-November, I had mastered my climbing skills.
I balanced on teetering barn ladders to reach for eves,
prying mud-cupped nests from splintering wood.
I hoisted myself up the bare branches of Oak trees,
to reach for small baskets of gnatcatcher nests
each decorated with lichen, each anchored in place
by thin strands of spider webs I snapped
with my fingers. Once, I even unhooked
swinging sock nests of Baltimore orioles,
each woven together with threads of grape vines
or snarls of tangled fishing line. But my favorites
were the Blue Jay nests, found in the crotches
of Evergreen branches, round cradles woven
tight with twigs twisted from live trees.
Inside, I would find bits of cigarette butts or
a single fake fingernail, red polish gleaming.