“Life List” by Janet McCann

Janet McCann


My friend the scholar-birdwatcher
is dying, after a quiet regular life
of Milton and birds, and if I could

imagine him a farewell, it would be this:
to look out into the small yard
he tended for forty years, to where

he placed the bird houses, the martin
house and the hummingbird feeder,
just in time to see a sweep of air

curve in and take form, the great arctic gyrfalcon
not on his life list, there on the sill,
beak, feathers and pinions

and final knowledge, Adam’s homecoming
after the story’s end, better than Eden.
May he leave in his hand a feather, that his wife

might know where he has gone.

from Rattle #25, Summer 2005
Tribute to the Best of Rattle


Janet McCann: “I’m most interested in animal rights and animal consciousness; when I’m not teaching at Texas A&M, which I’ve done since 1968, I’m probably chasing feral cats.” (web)

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