Last Call by David Alpaugh

Cedar waxwings really get it.
They know it’s better to give than receive.
They also know an hour or so of wine tasting
goes a long way toward boosting conviviality.
(They are the bon vivants of birdland.)

Lined up on the branch of a pyracantha
or cherry tree, they pass half-fermented fruit
up & down the bar—till most of them are tipsy.

Every avian once-in-a-while,
a waxwing who’s had ten too many
leaves the pub sans designated pilot
—stumbling off into the sky—
and, blood alcohol way too high,
flys into air that will not yield.

Hearing that dull, disheartening thud,
I wiped blood from my patio window
and buried drunken Bombycilla cedrorums
twice last winter (pretty necks broken).

Unlike thousands of wingless DUIs
who whizz through red lights & stop signs
they never kill anyone but themselves.


David Alpaugh has been around the block a few times with poems, essays, plays in journals that include Able Muse, Asinine Poetry, Chronicle of Higher Education, Evergreen Review, Free Lunch, Mudlark, Poetry, Poets & Writers, Raintown Review, Rattle, Scene4, Thema, Wisconsin Review, and Zyzzyva.