Puffin!

Underwater, a premier danseur,
his turns a blur,
his orange feet steer

through the orchestra
of seaweed and tide,
this sea parrot, this clown

of the Atlantic, harlequin-billed
with jester’s eyes;
take one for your own

and the dance of life
takes a turn. The one I choose,
Nureyev,

is on his fifth mate,
despite the fact that puffins
are monogamous: no guilt

on Eastern Egg Rock!
What’s important
is the burrow

lined with grass and sticks,
that he was seen
approaching the nest

with a half dozen fish in his bill.
While his wings spin
like a windmill at sea,

on land he hops awkwardly
across rocks, wings tucked
under the tail of his tuxedo.

In spring, he’s genius
of the thermals,
the sun whispers stage directions,

gravity reveals its secrets
as he flies toward his island
without map or compass
from far across the sea.

— Suellen Wedmore