May 2011

Another warm morning. I realize I like the dead cherry because it reminds me of winter. A young robin lands on a branch with its beak open.

A dry rattle in the pre-dawn dark: chipping sparrow. I lace up my boots, feeling for the eyelets like a clumsy reader of Braille.

A silk thread—spiderweb? Caterpillar line?—fetches up against the hairs of my arm, sticky, barely visible. A swallowtail’s random dance.

A mourning cloak butterfly circles the porch and yard three times, going behind my chair, including me in whatever it means to outline.

Random lilac, red maple and black cherry leaves have flipped over, exposing their pale undersides—evidence of a downpour in the wee hours.

The early-morning air is already thick with the smell of heat. Sunlit rooms in a palace of leaves. The oriole’s glossy song.

Coffee in my left hand, I weed the herb bed with my right, muttering at the clover: out with you, foul sweetener! as my fingers turn black.