in the forest, birdsong echoes

by Annie Stenzel

how can I, how can I
is not what the songbird said
but something similar

who were we, we who set out
on a day on a walk through the woods
to a new, a new, another new place

how is it we thought the forest
and the trees were part and parcel
part of this, part of that, part of
why did you, why did you

in the forest, trees, and the trees
see only themselves and not the forest
or the birds

the eyes of most songbirds look to each
side, rather than forward
but the eyes of birds that have died look up

and see nothing in the forest

where birdsong still echoes

ANNIE STENZEL was born in Illinois, but has lived on both coasts of the U.S. and on other continents at various times in her life. Her book-length collection is The First Home Air After Absence (Big Table Publishing, 2017). Her poems appear or are forthcoming in print and online journals in the U.S. and the U.K., from Ambit to Willawaw Journal with stops at Chestnut Review, Gargoyle, On The Seawall, SWWIM, The Ekphrastic Review, and The Lake, among others. A poetry editor for the online journals Right Hand Pointing and West Trestle Review, she lives within sight of the San Francisco Bay. For more, see

Photo: “Dead bird close up” by elitatt