It’s there, she said. I can see it

in the lower branch of that beech tree, how it lands—tanager

sprite, passerine. I like it there, it seems content to perch. Rarely

does it descend from the treetops. It is usually the song

that drops to the canopy below. It has come from across the lake

for raspberries. I would come too like the tanager just to feel

the little fruit slide down my throat—the tenderness of gluttony

the satisfaction of thievery. I would come for that. You should not

play with nature’s offering, abundance quickly turns to necessity

if the mind allows it. We should want less, know more

don’t you think? We cannot ever know that which will leave us.

The tanager sits in the tree but its presence will remain

only for the life of a raspberry. And raspberries are eaten. (He turns

to look at her.) Then consume me

so I too might never be forgotten. I’ve lived

too much of my life inside, spend too much time now

looking for tanagers. Show me another way. This has nothing to do

with love, what we consume will never be. And I like you better

looking for birds. When the forest turns to rot, when

abundance is consumed, the tanager will leave. But that’s

what tanagers do. When I return I want to see how your eyes widen

want to feel your arms tense, want to remember the scent

of your mouth. And then we will both know.

©️ David Crews