One for Sorrow, Two for Joy

This entry is part 7 of 20 in the series Highgate Cemetery Poems


Weed whacker

Magpies have been observed engaging in elaborate social rituals, possibly including the expression of grief.

So those are magpies!
They do look acquisitive.
They hover over
the graves like eyebrows
or second thoughts, tails
held decorously aloft.
Each time I raise the camera
they take flight—proof
they’re not spirits
but among the quick.
They are, in their black-
&-white way, shiny.
They remind me of
our shared mission:
to rob the dead.
Their chatter offers
a refuge from this refuge
where even the weed
eater keens, though
among their own kind,
blessed with sufficient wit
to comprehend loss,
they’re said to indulge
in rituals of grief.
I try counting them:
one, one, one.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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