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Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Wrens dabble at crushed chestnut and shallow water pebbles, each bird wet to its belly like perverted ducks.
I hardly noticed them at first for the glitter of the river as sunlight played over its ripples. But near the foot of the dock, the beaks bobbed like Singer sewing needles working over the fabric of the land, stitching or unstiching, I could not tell.
Theirs is a terrible chore, holding together the tread-bare world, shaping its reality with their ritual. This close to winter they should have flown south, if wrens go south, I rarely see them in the cold.
They seem oddly delicate against the crude habits of the sea gulls who hang out here year round picking the bones of the trash piles people leave at the river side during the night. The gulls will come to anyone's dinner and hover over the wrens now, curious at the activity, wondering if the food is worth all the effort. These gulls like all gulls are better thieves than laborers, better beggars, too, showing up when the old women come to feed popcorn to the ducks and geese, staying long after their welcome has worn out.
Me and the gulls observers today of wrens picking at chestnuts, each small wren eyeing me and the gulls, as if telling us both to go away.

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