Alex Therien’s Chickadees
by Charles Weld
Alek Therien said that they lit on his coat just like flies
when he stopped chopping wood to eat his lunch of cold potato
in the snow. One thing he had in common with his friend Thoreau—
at least, when describing chickadees—was penchant for hyperbole.
Talking large, my uncle called it in a letter he wrote that same decade.
After many, cold hours in the woods, during which Thoreau surveyed
the changes that a hard freeze had made, he wrote each chickadee
warmed him as a bright fire constantly burning. Thrice, not twice,
warmed would be his adage about wood’s heat. Chopping and
sawing heat first; burning, second; and, at times, these woodlot titmice
whose charity is unrehearsed. One advances, shies,
and advances again before picking a seed from my wife’s flat hand,
less bold than those that crossed Therien’s clearing to demand
supper from Thoreau as he cut across a neighbor’s cut-over land.
Charles Weld lives in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Pudding House published a chapbook of his poems, Country I Would Settle In in 2004. Kattywompus Press published a second chapbook, Who Cooks For You? in 2012. Charles Weld works as an administrator in a non-profit agency that supports youth with mental health needs.