barberry

A honeybee investigates my thermos mug, brushing my finger with her wings. The barberry bush trembles from all the sparrows in it.

The barberry beside the stream is turning from the inside out: under a green cloak, salmon pink, blood-red beads, the hurdy-gurdy of a wren.

A titmouse scolds something hidden among blood-red barberries. The dead stiltgrass twitches with a second life like hair on a corpse.

Thick fog. A steady drumming of snowmelt on the porch roof. A bluejay in the barberry, out of what looks like sheer boredom, begins to yell.

The barberry bush, still red with fruit, is heavy with a second crop of snow. From its depths, a white-throated sparrow’s plaintive song.

A sharp-shinned hawk careens into a ditch beside a barberry bush where seven small birds have fled. It sits in the snow, eying them up.

Birds forage on the back slope during a break in the rain, the gray juncos among the rocks and the scarlet cardinal in the barberry bush.