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Joan Mazza


My love of maps and the tales they tell
take me to the back of the Peterson Field Guide
of Eastern Birds, where I can see the breeding
range for every bird, each duck or wading species,

and see how far they fly, thousands of miles
when they migrate, navigating by sun, stars,

and an inner magnetic compass. Still traveling
the old routes, disoriented by lights on buildings,
they find their way to nest and breed again.
The planet warms and they stay longer, fly
to arctic wintering grounds later each year,

enjoy the abundant food supply provided
by humans, intentionally or not. Not so lucky,
trees are stuck where they are. Rooted, unable
to amble toward colder climes or higher altitudes,
they can’t flee as refugees welcomed in the north.

Trees obey and stay, victims of vandals seeking
lumber, weakened by insect blooms, killed
by fires, floods, erosion, pollution. No way
for them to migrate to more habitable zones,
they hunker down in their only homeland.

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