Applause for Widow Audubon
by Al Ortolani

Mud-deep in her husband's boots
she spills sunflower seeds
into the feeder. Starlings
dot the lawn, truculent and greedy.

She slaps the metal scoop
against the trash lid, shakes
a can of WD 40
and sprays the feeder pole
to slow the squirrels.
Tonight's applause
is late for Widow Audubon;
she works alone,
December shadows barring
the lawn like a cage.

Wheel of Fortune, her
favorite, spins through
the kitchen window, flickers
off a 50 gallon storage drum,
galvanized against rust, tightened
against mildew. Once
they had time, the two of them
for television, for sunflower seeds
protected they thought
forever in a metal can.

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