Fort Gibson Lake,Fringed on the east and west
By wooded hills and creeks
And prairie grasslands;
The sky's turned on
With the swoop and swirl of brightly feathered wings;
Many species of sparrows fly: Fox, Swamp, Lincoln's
Also gulls: Bonaparte's, Herring, Ring-billed
And two species of vultures,
In the spring trill migrant warblers: the Ovenbird, Redstart,
As well as nesting warblers: the Louisiana Water thrush, the Yellow-breasted Chat.
Since Pine are plentiful, see Pine Warblers, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and
At the body of the lake watch waterfowl in winter,
And eagles, and snow/blue geese;
To the open grasslands soar the Lapland Longspurs, Horned Larks, and hawks;
Near Jackson and Wahoo Bay dive Common Loons and ducks
A black-haired Indian birder
Crouches in the grass
Along the creek
Where once the river cane
Sparkled with emerald parakeets.
These have disappeared
Along with the cane
And the elders who remember them.
Toni McNeilly, a mother, retired teacher, and member of the Cherokee Nation, writes from a Native, female, and Christian perspective. Her writing has appeared in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal and the Goingsnake Messenger.