By Roxianne Moore

These grackles are like crying children
watching for treats tossed from a housewife's
hand. They call to each other and to me.
They tell me of their hunger, they fly at me in
their eagerness to feed. They complain of
the cold, call out their regrets. They are always calling,
calling to warn of cats prowling, calling
to tell of seeds scattered on snow. They beat the air
with their wings, they come to the door begging
for food, holding out collection tins and petitions as they cry.

I toss a crumb to one, a tidbit left over
from breakfast, and he cocks his head
to take my offering. I tell him, this food
is for you, to show that I would give more
if I thought it would help. I ask him
if he has seen the Spring, as if he were
an Oracle gazing at entrails, and I some Senator
awaiting good weather for war. He tells me,
perhaps, that Spring will come soon enough. He tells me

that I must wait, that I must contemplate, that I must
make my plans well, if I am to see the end
to this season of want and dark and grief. Yet he who
seeks for seed in the snow can know nothing of planning.
Maybe he tells me it will be years before my spring comes.

He tells me there is a stream, a hill, a quiet place. I must
cross the stream. I must climb the hill. I must rest
from my labors in the quiet place.
It is a bird's prophecy, a bird's philosophy,
and holds out the promise of Spring.


"Winter" appeared in the 2001 edition of Taproot Literary Magazine

Roxianne Moore grew up in Pennsylvania. Though she spent the early years of her marriage moving from one state to the next, her life has always been centered around Pennsylvania. She returned to her home state just before the birth of her son, and has no plans to leave.

Roxianne has been writing poetry, fiction and nonfiction for so long she's lost count of the years. Her work has appeared in Taproot Literary Review, North Journal Star, Renaissance Magazine, Scottish Islands Explorer, and other publications.

After two miscarriages, she turned once again to poetry as an outlet. She finds that her work has gained more depth as she poured her emotion into her poems. Now she tries to focus now on the positive, especially her husband Dan and son Douglas, and maintains hope that her family will expand.


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