Garden Musings: The Cardinal’s Harem

These trees, where three pairs
Of cardinals
Feast on berries through the fall
Twitter today with a veritable harem,
It seems, of lady cardinals.

Front and center, on a branch with water view
Sits one lone male
Bright red, puffed with pride.
How did he get all these chicks
I wonder
Where are the other guys?

At home I check the bird book.
The good cardinal,
It turns out
Is no scarlet polygamist.
The crested congregation
Sharing his high perch
Are not his wives at all
But a flock of Cedar Waxwings
On the move.

Next day, his flock fled,
The red-robed prelate rules his tree alone.

Christa Watters


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