For the April songbirds, especially able and loud, must honor
the birth of spring with exclamations bold and raucous, must honor

their season even if I am awakened at dawn by an asynchronous
choir I have no desire, in my chronic sickness, to honor.

And crows, those who plunder sour cherries, come in murderous
chorus louder than wren, robin, nuthatch. They drown the honor

of others more meek, timid by their show. Would that eagle, heron,
osprey, kingfisher make their marks upon the land, thereby honoring

the disappearance of their own fisheries by asphalt lots. Honorable
judge of what is and what isn’t, how answer the question, your honor?


Judith Skillman’s recent book is House of Burnt Offerings, Pleasure Boat Studio. Her work has appeared in Shenandoah, Poetry, Zyzzyva, FIELD, and elsewhere. Awards include an Eric Mathieu King Fund grant from the Academy of American Poets. Skillman has done collaborative translations from French, Portuguese, and Macedonian. Visit www.judithskillman.com