Jeannie E. Roberts

Brown-Headed Cowbird

A brood parasite perches atop the backyard maple.
Beady-eyed and iridescent,
M. ater remains watchful as D. pileatus

pecks steadily from the outer orbits of the forest.
M. ater’s spouse is becoming broody; ready-eggs
set the tone for a timely deposit.

Past the maple and beyond the oak, a nearby build
appears roomy. Delivery is quick. Her drops
are precise. When it comes to foster parents,

it’s the luck of the draw. If ejected, her shiny mate
will retaliate, transforming himself into the avian

Past the maple and beyond the oak, seven four-leaf
clovers rise. A rabbit reports as butterfly lands,
and rays of light slant across the parasitized nest.

Jeannie E. Roberts writes, draws and paints, and often photographs her natural surroundings. Her fifth book, The Wingspan of Things, a poetry chapbook, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. She teaches young children and finds joy in their laughter. Learn more about her at

%d bloggers like this: