By Jordan Weinstein - Peace Corps Volunteer, Senegal (2012-2015)
Senegal, even your birds are hyper-social.
There is a neem tree along the road
that I take every morning when I run.
It is absolutely bursting with birds, but why?
It is by no means the only tree in the area.
Yet all the weaver birds choose to make
their nests there, alongside each other.
The leaves of the tree are ragged,
ripped to ribbons for weaver nests
and the racket! All the birds screaming
over one another in a fight to be heard.
Why do they choose this chaos over
quiet solitude or small groups?
I could ask the same of your people.
Not secure without a body wedged on either side.
Not satisfied without someone to share everything.
Not alive without company.
This poem was selected as a finalist in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. It was selected from more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.