Hissing, honking, haughty bird,
taking its precious time crossing
the thoroughfare, above the law,
its garbanzo bean brain bestially
aware of its federal protection.
You know you are in its lair
when a minefield of black snake
firework shaped feces informs
your formerly halcyon hike
on the defiled shores of a lake.
Then, completely inconsiderate
of your cardiovascular stability,
its flock alights in a frenzied
splash, pocking the surface
with its anticlimactic complexion.
You prefer your view of this animal
above you, in V formation, hinting
of warmer climes, its barking
cacophony softened by the sky.
You refuse to be spellbound by its
versatility, its ruthless adaptation,
nor how goddamn cute its babies.
You will focus on how it should
be hunted and fed to the hungry,
stuffing pillows with its feathers,
pretending it does not trigger you
with an irrational childhood fear.
Matthew’s poetry was featured in The Best American Poetry 2007, and his chapbook, Silent Partner, won the 2013 Sow’s Ear Press Chapbook Award. He received an MFA in poetry from the University of Montana in 1999 and now works as an insurance consultant in Chicago.