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You, Cardinal

May 21, 2013

by C. E. Chaffin

Crimson startled the snow—
powder shook from his feet.
Between sunflower seeds
his raccoon eyes
gave no thought
to benefactors
so I buried my face
in the editorial section
like a hunting blind,
hoping he’d linger.

Above the paper’s
pinking shears edge
I’d spy him,
handsome as a captain,
his pyramidal tuft
like a helmet’s crest—
and I had gotten used to him
and he, perhaps to me,
when glancing over
a column by George Will
he was gone.

The void surprised me.
What did I expect—
that he would stay?
The mind wants hope
and you, cardinal,
though your feathers
be dipped in blood,
know little of the sadness
new absences bring.


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C. E. Chaffin (website) lives in Mendocino, California, with his wife and dog. He has two books to his credit, the latest being Unexpected Light. He has been a featured poet in over twenty magazines and an editor for many others.

  1. Risa Denenberg
    May 21, 2013 at 10:26 am

    sad and lovely

  2. Karen George
    May 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Beautiful, haunting poem. Love the detail of “paper’s / pinking shears edge.”

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