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The Cardinal's Mirror
by Joan Leotta

As I climbed my steps
I saw a puff of red feathers
on the porch,
surrounded by swarming ants
feasting on the once-living cardinal carcass,
once a pretty bird.
now reduced to insect food. 
I reflected. Probable cause of the bird's demise?
He must have seen himself,
mirrored in our door's storm glass,
seen himself as a sleek, crested rival
flying toward him.
Enraged, he flew against it in attack. He lost.
I sighed. I understood.

When I approach that wicked glass,
an older, heavy woman often
steps out toward me.
She holds my purse and packages
in her arms.
I admit I've considered attacking her.
Now, seeing the bird's result,
my aggression dims. I'll
make peace with the crone.

After all, she has to clean the porch.

First Published, in the anthology Poeming Pigeons, Spring 2015.