The Mobbing of a Bluejay

While I stand in the green functionsof the back yard, silent, except for the frictionsscraped by the clouds that promise not rain,but torrent, a gaunt bluejay peels into an appletree and a harness of robins descends to furyit quickly away. I see this and the remainsof nettles I cut yesterday, limp, like oldrags that refused... Continue Reading →

riff on a beam

Precarious, this light that hangs from a fissure,ties itself to a wet rail with a tendril and pulls,as if the nether side of a storm breaks,upturned and pillowed in a thimbleless pool. On the plains, shipwrecks poke their prows cotillion,sway in the studied drift of sorghum and wheatthreshed in the hoglight of another wet afternoon.But... Continue Reading →

Let One Skittish Robin

Approach the window.Let one skittish robin triggera flock. Starlings, juncoes, jays,a few gaunt sparrows will allupon a shadow split, as ifamong them a hawk had slipped. It is morning again. Shake offyour red-tail night as they —with chittered alarm, a fury of wings,and all that vexed your harried sleep,as you stare through a window,will flee... Continue Reading →

Consolation

Out,beyond the reflectionof yellow kitchen walls,the green couch and the black dognose prints, tulips and dayliliesbreak soil along the driveway.I not so much see as know. The first finch grips the strutof an empty feeder, and the chimeslament a minor tune. Certainly,robins gather winterfall andwarblers crest the gulf, and soon,perhaps, move on. But for now,... Continue Reading →

The Still Travail

I’ve been nowhere for years,save the backyard. Once,high at the gutters with wet leaves,whirlies and grit, I saw Khartoumand Petra. And once, from the maple,cutting a rogue limb, I saw Rioand Milan, all among grass clippingsfermenting in bags, wood firesand propane, burnt steaksand green treated lumber, crosscutfor a shed the next sea over,rolled in on... Continue Reading →

Winter Kill

It is 4 a.m.,and a black dog breakscrust on old snow - stumbles.And a full moon loomsto reveal just easta crackling of limbs felledby gathered frosts and westa barn owl arcs silent - a slurryof cream, hunger and brownwinter kill hovered and plungedby moon and yellow porchlight.A black dog stiffens and sniffs -limbs give no... Continue Reading →

But For The Pheasant

But for the pheasant’s coppered wing the fieldsin sculpted snows ne’er bring the promised yieldsnor pleasures found ‘til light does crest the riseat dawn and ambers claw upon the eyes. To wake and wonder here among such thingsas iridescence glides there down and bringsunto these smothered lands and frostbit handsa hope that winter’s scoff no... Continue Reading →

The Felling

When the lastsoftpoplarfell,and the bluejays - the bluejays -rolled out; When the mangled nestspilled outthese mouths,these bentfeatheredtufts; When the chainsaw stilledits shriek and whir; When thick air closedabout us; When the larger jaysswept off the elmand veined away -blue lines on a blue sky,blue abandon in a blueeye; It was then,in the clearing of dead... Continue Reading →

Of Dead Birds and Tongues

If I knew anything, like a dog's tail wags, like an iced wire sags, I would know a hard mouth stings. But there in the blaze of it, in that thick tongued moment, when your eyes glazed on a word, a dry twig snapped beneath a bird. And what fell there, what broke there, now... Continue Reading →

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