“These Wild Turkeys” by Tim Poland

Tim Poland


For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen
the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral
Character. He does not get his Living honestly… For the Truth
the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird,
and withal a true original Native of America… His is besides,
though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not
hesitate to attack…
—Benjamin Franklin, 1784

we’ve taken to feeding these wild turkeys
and they hate us for it, hold us in contempt,
lured from the burden of forage,
baited into ease and dependence,
it’s our fault and they know it, so they
turn on us, demand we continue what we’ve
started now that the damage is done, their
wildness revised to fistfuls of grain on the ground


a hen wanders in from another flock
on the far side of the ridge, saunters in
from the wild to peck the easy corn
with her angry and sated cousins,
the ancient grain a new delight to her,
until a delegation of other hens arrives from
over the ridge, cuts her from this indolent flock,
and nudges her back to the wild fold


see the tom by the fallen poplar, wing feathers
chestnut and buff, eyes like polished pebbles,
he does not condescend to display for us,
we do not merit his vanity,
no threat to him, we are pathetic and
worthy of no more than his disdain,
servants to be pecked and prodded if
we are too slow to deliver up the corn

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007

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