The sound filters through my open window
as I rinse the breakfast dishes. The flicker's call
almost startles me, a sort of laughing warble
that heralds its arrival to a dying tree.
There's a certain charm to it, and if you know it
you know what will follow - a sharp rat-a-tat-tat
on dry, hollow wood. I try to triangulate
and pinpoint its location - a tall oak across the street,
still alive with leaves, but with several dead limbs
on one side. The drumming continues,
and I sight the bird - black polka-dotted wings,
a swatch of red on the back of his neck. His beak
will take a bite out of dry-rotted wood,
which will offer up hidden bugs and grubs.
After a while he will move on, leaving his mark
behind, as he and other denizens of the trees
mingle into the other morning noises.