Preponderance of the Small Preponderance of the Small (The Clinging)

I fill the thistle feeder hanging in the Fringe tree, stand back, and watch the little birds reassemble. They fly from the high naked branches of the Pistache, one at a time, flit from branch to branch, to take their turns on the feeder—black seeds for gold birds. I buy the seed in fifty-pound sacks. I and my wife funnel it into gallon jugs. It seems as though it would take a long time for these tiny birds to eat every tiny seed, but seed by seed, inch by inch, day by day, it all goes. The tree is just putting out its first leaf buds for the spring. At the ends of the many thin-fingered branches green flags catch the first light of the day. A bird slips each thin seed from a slit of the feeder, snips it in its tiny beak, drops the feather-light husk silently to the ground, and catches my eye.

The Clinging