Two Birds in the Evening


When that oriole whistled from the orchard

it seemed frankly to be asking, You got

a problem with that? Its orange and black

was brash as a high-school letter sweater.

No problem, no problem, except I saw

Saturday night under the old Rialto’s

marquee again . . . at least until a ruby-throat

running a quality-control check

on a trumpet vine drew nearer and I thought,

This is what I ’d like next time around:

to be one of the air’s accomplices,

too quick for boredom and

acrobatic in love.


Brendan Galvin is the author of sixteen poetry collections, most recently Habitat: New and Selected Poems, 1965–2005 (2005), a finalist for the National Book Award; Ocean Effects (2007); and Whirl Is King (2008)—all from Louisiana State University Press. His translation of Sophocles’ Women of Trachis appeared in the Penn Greek Drama Series (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998).