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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 7, Number 2, June 2013

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Ray Rasmussen
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


An Empty Place

The woods here have seemed empty despite the tracks of moose, wolves, deer and too-many-to-count small critters, but when just minutes ago I filled the bird feeder, they’re suddenly alive, the big red-capped woodpecker dominating, next in line the white-breasted nuthatch, his thin rapier-like beak perhaps a threat to the others, and then there’s the

chickadees
here and there
leaves in the wind

choosing their moment to grab a seed or two, until red-cap returns for seconds and drives them off (god, how I hate bullies) but the chickadees not seeming to mind, hide and wait for their moment, and I’ve lived much of my life like these small feathered butterflies, avoiding the bullies, picking my moments, wishing I had hit red-headed Jack Renner who grew up faster than the rest of us, yes, punched him out when he was beating on some kid (or me), yet I didn’t but instead got damn good at disappearing, at fluttering in for a moment here and there and damn it! here’s Jack again, this time reincarnated as a squirrel squatting smack in the middle of the feeder, while the chickadees, woodpecker and nuthatch wait for their moments, and look now

everywhere
sunflower shells
empty feeder

and I’m feeling empty too, but I’ll finish this and sail it out somewhere, where there are so many paper airplanes fluttering about like chickadees, and assuming that someone reads mine, it will say:

Hey! I’ve not disappeared, here I am.

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