Geococcyx californianus

Greater roadrunner

Jane Miller






Having barely escaped death today

you cannot judge too harshly


the opportunistic forager

seizing warblers from feeders and nests


traveling downhill or in danger flying

a few seconds as a bronze gloss


you must be prudent if one races

slow motion in front of your moving car


only to dart into brush

for the next thing you know


the lamp is lit and the eyeglasses await

the roadrunner as the reader





The Hopi believe the roadrunner

protects against evil


also kills fruit by a blow from its beak

or beats the neck of small mammals


against rock with ungodly speed

the adult will murder a scorpion or snake


on a terribly ardent morning

one stuns a dragonfly or hummingbird mid-air


or leaps from a dry riverbed

after low-flying unsuspecting white-throated swifts


if it’s a good book

the reincarnated poet will not mind


being stabbed in the air

and clapped against granite





Jane Miller's poem sequence, Thunderbird, will be published by Copper Canyon Press in 2013.