Aviary Amor

My poem, Aviary Amor, was recently published in a literary journal called Meat for Tea, Volume 12, Issue 4. Below is the poem — written while living on the water for a year, and the link to the journal itself. Lots of lovely reading inside. Thanks Meat for Tea for selecting and including this poem.

Aviary Amor

Joanell Serra

Visitors float on the tide like tourists, surveying the landscape.

Heroic gulls, sweet hesitant plovers, a graceful ibis.

Words swell in my throat like the salt water the pelicans swill in their enormous beaks.

Grace, light, loons.

Words spring to my mind, as their feet cut the still waters in an eloquent landing, as they pluck at the mud, as they hunt face down in acrobatic feats, duck feet waving to the sky. 

The snowy egret.

Downy, white, jubilant.

Blue heron.

An erudite, stern observer.

I plunder the world for more information: A stained Audubon guide from my father, the boy on the path with his binoculars, a long shelf at the library of birding binders. I have aviary avarice.

I consider the nesting patterns of pelicans:

Sturdy, wide nests.

Home, abode, sanctuary.

They lay three eggs.

Three. Not two or four.

The labor of raising the young is divided equally between the parents.

So civilized a society, from a creature that harkens images of dinosaurs and sagging old men.

The migration of hummingbirds.

Love-bees, buzzing intently down the California Coast.

Allen’s hummingbird, a slight fellow with a bold copper throat,

Lifts high in the air, aims for the sun,

Surges back and forth in pendulous arcs

Before diving down, tail squeaking.

He winters in Mexico.

I search for the identity of the small masked duck who came on Monday.


Oh delight, to say bufflehead three times.

Audubon states he is a diminutive diver.

(Who created this this masterful alliteration? I find myself thinking of him.)

Audubon further recommends to watch, on the cusp of October, for

A black headed grosbeak (his song being like a drowsy robin) to come my way.

Listen, more accurately, for his lusty whistle.

I wait by the water’s edge, awakened, present.

On the cusp.

Heart open, eyes wide, pen ready.

My hope lifts with the heron’s long neck to see who comes next on the horizon.