Carolina wren

To the east, an agitated crow. Over by the cattails, an anxious wren. And behind me under the house, a groundhog bumps and scrapes.

A sharp-shinned hawk keeps chasing flickers in the yard; they yell at the effrontery and circle right back each time. A wren chatters alarm.

A red-spotted purple butterfly emerges into the glare like an emissary from the shadows. In the front garden, a burst of wren chatter.

The dark strips laid bare by the snow plow pullulate with juncos. One silhouette is different, bouncier, twitchier: the Carolina wren.

Despite the wind, yesterday’s snow still clings to the trees, like the sleep I keep trying to rub from my eyes. A wren’s ascending rattle.

The excited yelling of my young niece, out tracking animals in the snow with her grandmother. A Carolina wren scolds from the lilac bush.

A faint smell of sewage on the wind. A wren singing from atop the springhouse in the absence of a female supplies his own call-and-response.