Now they make me say their names out loud.
The royal tern. The western grebe. The ruff.
The hook-billed kite. The rusty blackbird.
The tufted duck. It’s not enough,
They say, to only know each proper name.
Too soon they’ll make me go outdoors.
How often can they pick me clean,
I ask this multitude of doctors.
Whimbrel. Swan. Merganser. Teal.
Thrasher. Veery. Pygmy-owl.
The lesser scaup and common goldeneye.
They say what happened wasn’t real.
They tell me many names of gulls.
They preen and barely look me in the eye.