Snow Bird Wind Swirl

Snow Bird Wind Swirl

i.
Snow swirl swings around
grabs up cold wind
birds
abandon bush and branch and ground
spiral up and out
scatter.

ii.
Bird swirl swings around
shakes off cold wind
Snow flakes
outline bush and branch and ground
wait.

iii.
Wind swirl swings around
white-flecks black birds
Snow drifts
erase bush and branch and ground
gone.

3/8/18

For the Reason That

From Pink Chalk, published in 2018.

For the Reason That
Kreeek.

the bird
outside the door
catches my attention

Kreeek.

short, fully-formed utterance
harsh-toned. Weary. Meted out one after another
flat and without affect
the bird tells me

Kreeek.

I don’t know
from what part of the bird
the sound emanates

Kreeek.

the hinges of its beak
the muscles of its ground-hop legs
when its twisting-neck head turns
each blink of the cold black eyes
the action of the digestion of seeds
the bird has just ingested
the motion of its lungs as it breathes or
the air around it disturbed by its passing?
Kreeek.
Kreeek.
Kreeek.

The answer is of no importance
for the reason that

Kreeek.

the bird is indifferent
as to what I hear and know

Kreeek.

6/21/18
6/26/18

Answer

From Pink Chalk, published in 2018.

Answer
the
Bird
Small? I don’t know.
Its stab needle call
can’t say it’s a song
it is not melodious but
Loud
I have learned
bird size and sound size
have nothing to do with each other
it is
holes opened in the air
staggered out spaced unsymmetrical
the pattern uneven like this:

screak

screak screak screak

screak
screak

screak screak
screak

pulling the thread tight
drawing up the air in pleats
and then
knotted off and cut.

the
Bird
Gone or silent?
I don’t know.
I have learned
some questions
do not need an answer
only that I asked
and listened for it.

6/7/18

Heartbreak

From Pink Chalk, 2018.

Heartbreak

Robin
you built your nest
constructed in part
with Christmas tinsel
you found in May.
You settled
on the windowsill
wide enough but slanted out
the nest
perched on it
insecure.
You laid four eggs
I was told
Two gone
by the time I came along
yesterday
I saw you
sitting
your unblinking eye facing me.
Today
you are gone
the nest empty
I find
one blue egg in the grass below
cracked
the tiny bird inside
your last baby
curled up
helpless against the ants.

5/24/18

Clear Sense of Priorities

From Refuge, 2017.

Clear Sense of Priorities
Sparrows and chickadees
Mild January day
Gray in the waiting kind of way
things have before it rains
scribble out a fierce little story
in their darting swooping
bursts of
circling the bird feeder
keeping up the pressure
on the squirrel
who shinned up the pole to get at the seeds
They want to get him to go off away.
I bang on the window
over here in the house
to see if I can’t shake things loose
Wasted effort.
The squirrel knows
to ignore anything
but the next mouthful.
1/19/17

Salad Bar at the Grocery Store

From Rearrange, published in 2018.

Salad Bar at the Grocery Store

Plastic roof over the carrots
arugula and cress
pickled beets and wheatberry salad
sneeze proof and scratched up
you watch your hands through it
as they travel from
tofu slices
to hard-boiled eggs
you slide yourself along
pick pick pick with the tongs
feet shuffling miles below, unseen
your eyes scrutinizing the array
intent on the food. Excuse me excuse me
sidling around the barely-registered
except for when they get in your way
other people
with their other hands dipping forward
their other stop-and-go feet tracking the food
pick pick pinch quick pick
birds around the feeder
in winter

12/28/17

Pertinacity

From Redirection, 2017.

Pertinacity

Sparrow
landing on the far end of a tiny twig
it should know better than to choose
toes wrapped around two or three times
to get a grip
twig bouncing under even this trifling body weight
swinging hard enough to fling off
a less determined creature
than this sparrow
who I am beginning to admire
more and more.
The twig settles. The sparrow
knew.

9/7/17

Orchestra and Soloists

From Refuge, published in 2017.

Orchestra and Soloists

The metal-rimmed casement pulled inward
the opening just wide enough to let in
the episodic song of a bird
in the leafless bush under the sill
while

one square of sunlight
on the scarred wooden table top
moving with the slow outs and backs
of the long heavy drapes
matches the rhythm

with
the wait and pounce of the gusty wind

through the opening
in the metal casement window
pulled inward.

3/2/17

Little Birds

From the book Enough For a Book, 2016.

Little Birds

You forget how tiny a kindergartner is
until you see a flock of them
on the swings in the playground
you see how tall the frame
of the swings is and
how big the seats and
thick the chains that hold the swings.
The small thumbs and fingers just meeting to grasp
to hold on. The skinny short legs pumping
up and back, up and back
until the teacher calls recess over and
one and then many at once
each at the rise of the swing they jump off
a great big distance for a small person
they land running
they line up and none of them big enough
to see through the glass panel on the door
into the hallway where they are going
leaving the swings still moving, up and back, up
and
back
you say it slower and slower to match the motion
until
all is still
the flock flown on and the yard quiet.

2/15/16

Bird Game

From Enough For a Book, 2016.

Bird Game

A whole pack of sparrows
in that bare-limbed bush
crowded in together
among the twisty branches
Quick they are gone
all their wings set to work at once
with a sound like
a pack of cards shuffled
very fast and very hard
and then thrown up in the air.

2/16/16