Backyard

Ed Higgins

  Through the large, kitchen window two Red-naped Sapsuckers cling to the side of our flowering pear tree, white with bloom. The male has a distinctive red spot crowning its head and along the throat. Inside I am on my cell phone but not really listening as the red-topped male and the black and white-striped female fling moss from the pear tree, looking for whatever is beneath. They do not suck sap as their name implies, but rather lick sap using small hair-like projections on the tips of their tongues. I cannot see their tongues however and have only read this. Also, they make two holes in a tree, a round one to dig deeply in the tree's bark and one rectangle-shaped to help the flow. The male frequently taps on the trim on the north side of our house, day after day during summer, although I am sure the trim holds no sap and is irritated at the woodpecker for this continual unnecessary assault. I finish my call and set my phone on the breakfast table as I continue to watch the woodpeckers, sipping my morning coffee.



 

Ed Higgins' poems and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals including recently: Peacock Journal, Uut Poetry, Triggerfish Critical Review, and Tigershark Magazine, among others. Ed teaches literature at George Fox University, south of Portland, OR. and is Asst. Fiction Editor for Ireland-based Brilliant Flash Fiction. He and his wife live on a small organic farm in Yamhill, OR where they raise a menagerie of animals, including a pair of Bourbon Red turkeys (King Strut and Nefra-Turkey), and an alpaca named Machu-Picchu.

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