black ski mask

stretched over

my wan face

a black-and-white warbler

weesa weesa weesa weesa

weesa weesa weesa


Rounding the corner

on Sugartown Road

a family of robins

tenses up.

Mother with stroller

dog straining on leash

two juvenile robins way ahead

trying out their wings on scooters

“Who is this man?

Who steps in our street?”

Asks her oldest hopping robin

cheer-up cheerily

cheer-up cheerily


Valley Forge Road

head pecking at her phone

young female flicker searches for

some connection to ants

wicka-wicka-wicka- Kleer!


Steady masked stare

of the black-and-white warbler

makes the young jogger

swivel left

swerve and lurch left

and cross Devon Road,

a phoebe always flying

skimming for insects

on her workout

phoe-bé phoe-bè

phoe-bé phoe-bè


Do- not- cross

yellow tape flutters

barring Bo Connor Park.

In the Forbidden Zone

two tennis-playing starlings

lob their serves

an instructional series

of discordant musical

squeaky rasping




Cherry blossoms beckon

on Morris Ave

a burly landscaper

makes unnecessary talk

to a mourning dove.

She puts out

her deep-throated

coo-ah coo coo coo

coo-ah coo coo coo


Club La Maison

Little Darby Creek.

At the new concrete bridge

purposeful power -walking

black-bibbed house sparrows

flit in and out of

yellow forsythias.

Shrill monotonous

twig-carrying liquid chatter.

Cheep chirrup

Cheep chirrup

Cheep chirrup

Cheep chirrup


Down and up

the little steps to home

the black-and-white warbler

eager to unmask.

Halt. Step backwards.

Allow the advancing

rotund resident blue jay

to check his mail

with raucous greeting



and now to chase away

this black-hooded intruder,

he mimics a red-shouldered hawk

keeyuur keeyuur

keeyuur keeyuur


Who’s to say who he is?

It’s hard to unmask

these April days

flying fast

black and



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