Monday, November 20, 2023


 Two Monobons by Bruce W. Niedt


Two Sides of Temptation


A little six-ounce screw-top jar. Every 90 degrees, a hole drilled through the glass near the neck, four in all. Through each hole, a red rubber stopper, flower-shaped with a smaller hole in the middle. A half-cup solution of one part sugar, four parts water, almost fills the jar, which hangs by a hook over a piece of clothesline, strung under the eaves of the back porch. A ruby-throated hummingbird accepts the invitation to quench his thirst and need for energy, and he flits and darts around it, dipping his needled beak, hovering with blurred wings, before he flashes off just as quickly as he came. He remembers this station, this sweet oasis, returning again and again, and if we let it go dry, that clever little dynamo reminds us by buzzing around our back porch door, peering in at the humans who feed him. Today, though, there are different visitors, and they march single file up the post that leads to the tied-on clothesline, tightrope-walk across it to the jar, and crawl in through the little faux-flower holes to find the source of what they smelled, that sugary lake inside. But they are trapped, unable to get a foothold, and drown there by the dozens, while a parade of unsuspecting comrades pushes on to a deadly objective. By the end of the day, the sugar-water is black with bodies.


The sweetness, the trap—






The peacock struts his stuff, never missing a chance to show off his regalia, fluffing out his feathers like an exotic fan, all iridescent blues and greens, dotted with "false eyes," attracting mates and scaring enemies. But he can't find his way out of a maze. The parrot, dipped in a paint box, will preen and impress you with his imitation of human speech, but don't ask him what it all means. The blue jay, the cardinal, the Bird of Paradise, all proud of their colors, are somehow empty inside.


The clever crow always paints his feathers black.





Bruce W. Niedt is a retired “beneficent bureaucrat” whose poetry has been published in many online and print journals, including Rattle, Writers Digest, Mason Street Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Tiferet, Spitball, and Your Daily Poem. His work has also appeared in the anthologies Best of the Barefoot Muse, Poem Your Heart Out, and most recently, Poetry for Ukraine. He has won poetry awards from Writers Digest, ByLine Magazine, and the Philadelphia Writers Conference, as well as three Pushcart Prize nominations and two Best of the Net nominations. His first full-length collection, The Bungalow of Colorful Aging (Kelsay Books), and his eighth chapbook, Knit Our Broken Bones, (Maverick Duck Press), were published in 2022. He lives with his incredibly patient wife in Cherry Hill, NJ.


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