Watermelon Bird

by Eric Ode

In mid-July, my friends and I
were drinking lemonade
and eating watermelon
in the comfort of the shade.
We spat the seeds among the weeds.
We spat them east and west.
I spat one in a pine tree, where
it landed in a nest.

And there it lay till late in May,
when it sprouted as a vine,
and soon there grew a melon
in the branches of the pine.
A mother bird without a word
then settled in the tree
and nested on that melon
for a week or maybe three.

A day ago, I stood below
and heard an awful scratching:
the picking and the pecking
of that watermelon hatching.
Then very soon that afternoon,
a feathered head broke free,
and now a giant baby bird
is sitting in our tree.

He’s green and red from tail to head.
His eyes are small and gray.
He likely weighs a hundred pounds
and will not go away.
So be on guard in your backyard
when in the shade you sit.
Enjoy the watermelon,
but be careful where you spit.


Text © Eric Ode, reprinted from Rolling in the Aisles published by Meadowbrook Press. Illustration © Stephen Carpenter. Any copying or use of this poem or illustration without consent is unlawful.

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