Although most of "Bird-Witted" is told from the vantage of the birds' nest, Moore briefly breaks the ongoing present of her narrative to include a vision of "the remote / unenergetic sun- / lit air before / the brood was here." Like the presence of the piebald cat, the thought of the brood's previous and utter absence creates a pall. The small aside gives a dusky center to the poem, as powerful as the unspeakable truths of sexuality and kinship central to many of Faulkner's fiction.
From Omissions are Not Accidents: Gender in the Art of Marianne Moore. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992. Copyright © 1992 by Wayne State University Press.