He approaches her, trailing his whole fortune,
Perfectly cocksure, and suddenly spreads
The huge fan of his tail for her amazement.
Each turquoise and purple, black-horned, walleyed quill
Comes quivering forward, an amphitheatric shell
For his most fortunate audience: her alone.
He plumes himself. He shakes his brassily gold
Wings and rump in a dance, lifting his claws
Stiff-legged under the great bulge of his breast.
And she strolls calmly away, pecking and pausing,
Not watching him, astonished to discover
All these seeds spread just for her in the dirt.
— David Wagoner
from "Best of Prairie Schooner: Fiction and Poetry,"
University of Nebraska Press, 2001
whose most recent book is Good Morning and Good Night,
University of Illinois Press, 2005
There are a hundred paths through the world
that are easier than loving. But, who wants easier?
~ Mary Oliver