Pileated Woodpecker

Upper parts of forest trees,
nude where pines at pasture used to be,
keep their old diseases close
in punk beneath the paper bark
they hold themselves together with.
Dryocopus pileatus in the window-birch
endures the drilling of the search
for wood-ants its genetic faith
finds sleeping there in frozen pith.
Like miner’s pick its striped beak
chisels ragged mortises around
for days until the ground-
sprouts puncture last year’s leaves.  Wraith-
like then it crawls on wings, finning
itself pointed and dark,
the feathers in its cap too red,
its pterosaurus-squawk morose.

It leaves the treetop unaware
raising such a ruckus at the peak
I neither watch nor care
how a broken cylinder, spinning
exoskeleton once a tree
and loosened now in so little breeze,
comes drilling into the forest floor
reverberating like the head
of one who thinks no more.

Thus the toothless beaks of peckers hunt the pecked,
tweezer them and leave the treetops wrecked.
As both bird and tree supposed
I keep my forest-window closed.

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