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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 2: March 2020
Tanka Prose: 134 words
By David C. Rice

Lost Bird: Reward


Mid-1950s, snow on the ground, and one morning a flock of Evening Grosbeaks in our backyard. The bird book promised warblers in spring.

the global thermometer
cardinal red
we’re goldfinch
so pleased with our song
we can’t stop

Back then, climate change was for geologists, extinction for dinosaurs.

refuge closed
—road flooded—
I make a U-turn
even if I had wings
where would I migrate?

Money, fittest of all survivors, always flies. The barons of oil could leave some in the ground—too costly to extract it—but depending on alpha predators to nurture their prey for the common good is a bad bet.

Still, I’ve got to put my chips down...on green.

old jigsaw puzzle
a robin hidden
in a leafed-out oak
I must keep looking
for the lost piece

David C. Rice
Issue 2, March 2020

was the editor of the Tanka Society of America’s triannual journal, Ribbons, from 2012-2019. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife. Three children and three grandchildren live nearby. All the proceeds from his 2019 book, Pilgrim on the John Muir Trail: Tanka Verse, will be donated to the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club.

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