I have my own picture window now, complete with bird feeder.
religiously, for years. Filling
a rusted coffee can with sunflower
seeds, she loaded the feeder outside
her big picture
Seated with binoculars
and bird book in hand,
she watched the window like a big screen TV.
A .22 leaned casually against the window frame.
She slipped its nose out occasionally, firing a round
into marauding Blue Jays and other greedy types.
Her letters to me, in shaky script, described
she saw and bears; often
moving through the old
their way to the river
with cubs in
She stopped shooting the rifle, she said,
after she accidentally shot a hole in the floor.
When a bold bear came and
stood outside the window
contact with her, she also stopped feeding the
I wanted her
to feed them anyway,
to stand her
petite frame in the wide
binoculars in one hand and riffle
other, like a sharp shooter in the WWII
movies Grandpa and I watched in her
room. I wanted food for the birds,
food for her. I wanted her to keep
Now I walk my own property
of oiled, black sunflower seeds.
One by one I lower, fill, and rehang feeders.
I watch dumpy
cardinals, bright yellow finches
and the greedy squirrel who
hangs upside-down by his back toes.
I lift my
children to face the window, “Look! See!,” I
We’re a long way from the mountains,
though I can
see them in the distance.
believe the bears
will find me here,
but if they do, maybe I’ll tell them
Grandmother – her binoculars and gun,
her happy, well-fed chickadees.