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Aren't Native To America

Like the poor
the sparrows we
will always have with us,
my neighbor lady tells me
as she feeds the birds
in her backyard
on a little table.

She says sparrows
are the rabble of
the bird world
as bad as starlings.

The sparrows come
in hordes she says
until the starlings arrive
and scatter them.
Then the starlings
bump each other
out of the way.

Birds like these
make it impossible
she says
for the pretty birds
the cardinals and jays
chickadees and juncos
to visit her buffet.

She points out
sparrows and starlings
aren't native to America.
They're stowaways that
came here long ago
on ships from
the Old World.

She says America has
a problem like that now
but it's not birds
we have to worry about
and that's why
the next election
is so important.
I look her in the eye
and say I agree.

by Donal Mahoney

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