A Northern Flicker, one wing charred
the other golden yellow shafts amber vanes
flight feathers outstretched,
the head drooping forward
as though still wanting
to declare its territory,
still wanting to make the loudest sound.
We scuttled out of classrooms like cockroaches
into the darkened hallway
quickly decided how to divide the body,
who was to keep its good wing,
the head with a red blaze
even the clawed feet.
I did not question whether
the Flicker already gave enough,
the blackened pinion
tossed into the shrubs,
its disfigurement was safe from us.