The Blue Booby

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The blue booby lives
on the bare rocks
of Galápagos
and fears nothing.
It is a simple life:
they live on fish,
and there are few predators. 
Also, the males do not 
make fools of themselves 
chasing after the young 
ladies. Rather,
they gather the blue
objects of the world
and construct from them

a nest—an occasional 
Gaulois package,
a string of beads,
a piece of cloth from 
a sailor’s suit. This 
replaces the need for 
dazzling plumage; 
in fact, in the past 
fifty million years
the male has grown
considerably duller, 
nor can he sing well. 
The female, though,

asks little of him—
the blue satisfies her 
completely, has 
a magical effect
on her. When she returns
from her day of
gossip and shopping,
she sees he has found her 
a new shred of blue foil: 
for this she rewards him 
with her dark body,
the stars turn slowly
in the blue foil beside them 
like the eyes of a mild savior.

© James Tate