The woodpecker and I have

a mostly unspoken agreement:

when I throw up the window and

bellow unladylike into the frosty air,

he leaves his perch on the

clapboard of my house,

ceases his staccato pecking at

small bugs living in and on

said clapboards, and flies off

to his second favorite perch,

the still-standing dead

pine tree six feet into the woods

while I, peeved but also feeling

momentarily victorious,

resume reading,

prepared to give a repeat

performance on moment’s notice,

not fool enough to think

I’ve negotiated a final settlement.




Mary Ellen Shaughan is a native Iowan who now lives in Western Massachusetts. Her poetry has appeared in PeregrineFoliate Oak, Long Story Short, Iowa Writes, A&U: America’s AIDS Magazine, Aleola, and 2River View.