FNS: Peace Among the Finches by Antonia Lewandowski

Every Friday night we feature a short story, essay, personal narrative, poem,
spoken word, or short film for your enjoyment.

Tonight’s poem is from Antonia Lewandowski

This morning over coffee, we watch finches
in their cage, guessing their grievances, seeing
as if for the first time. I said, “How they chitter
pecking at pellets in plastic cups, brushing
feathers, squabbling over swings. With a smile
you remarked, “All the comforts under sunshine.”
We rested, our feet touching cool tiles.

“Suppose,” you offered then, “suppose
when you open the cage, finches recognize
divine force moving through twiggy space
a benediction of water, seed, and lettuce leaves
their sacraments of existential need, power
circulating like a wave of light.” I liked
what you said, but declined to agree.

“See how feathers fly? They deconstruct nests
punching holes for skylights and quarrel over
paper and string, a struggle for supremacy
to serve the next clutch of eggs.
Winner takes all. Politics on the wing.”

You point out, “Yet, one angel at a time,
crouched catlike, ineluctable paws poised
on a tissue of air, one whisker away
from destroying the flock, defines the terms.
We rise and take our dishes to the sink
without a backward look at finches
whose chaos and communion seem
strangely proportionate to ours.

Antonia Lewandowski teaches writing and literature at St. Petersburg College, Florida. Her poetry has appeared in English Journal, Sojourners, the Red Fox Review, Meta, and Connecticut River Review. She is a past recipient of a Connecticut Commission on the Arts Poetry fellowship, and twice, a National Endowment for the Arts summer fellow in Humanities. Her chapbook Out of the Woods was underwritten by the Pinellas Arts Council.

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