Baltimore oriole

Noise from the quarry—a grinding drone that runs under everything: oriole song, woodpecker drumming, a hummingbird’s Geiger-counter clicks.

Despite the heat, the oriole’s enthusiasm is undiminished. The walking onions, like ostriches of fable, are stretching to bury their heads.

In the tall locusts still bare of leaves, the flaming orange of a Baltimore oriole—no, two orioles in a mad chase. The victor’s brassy song.

The oriole’s glossy song. Up in the woods, a deer snorts in alarm for half an hour, until I think a bear or coyote must’ve found her fawn.

The Baltimore oriole flies from treetop to treetop, laying claim to the yard. A lone chimney swift cuts arabesques in the cobalt blue sky.

Wood thrush, cerulean warbler, red-eyed vireo, Baltimore oriole—song by song I tick them off as yellow petals fall from the tulip tree.

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