All week I liked him —
He’d had a divorce but who hasn’t,
he drank, I knew some drinkers,
he smoked, he brought us to his beach,
he’d written books — I liked him
until someone mentioned a chickadee

and he told a story. That bird is so stupid —
One sat still when he put a twelve-gauge
to its cheek. (The bird was supposed to know —
only a fool would let him near.) — I pulled
the trigger and blew the bird away.

It disappeared except one leg that swung
and still held onto the branch. He rocked
an index finger to show us. I was only twelve.

A smile followed his finger’s curve,
as if he might shoot again.


Mel Schorin used to live in Falmouth, MA and now lives in Cambridge. He has been writing poems on many topics, and published a book of poems on how we treat animals on the highway and elsewhere, titled Raccoon Sympathy. He also co-authored a beginning language textbook, Haitian Creole for Healthcare.

Art can illuminate even the most elusive and difficult to comprehend ideas. Visual rules and tightly codified visual metaphors help scientists communicate complex ideas mostly amongst themselves, but they can also become barriers to new ideas and insights. Dr. Regina Valluzzi’s images are abstracted and diverged from the typical rules and symbols of scientific illustration and visualization; they provide an accessible window into the world of science for both scientists and non-scientists.