Bright sun, bitter wind. With the snow almost gone, the neighbors’ chickens must be out of their coop: the rooster crows and crows.

Cold rain is once again erasing the snow. Off in the fog, the neighbor’s rooster crows like a conquistador laying claim to the bare ground.

When the neighbors’ rooster finally stops crowing, the incessant singing of the red-eyed vireo seems as hushed as the murmur of a stream.

In a lull between showers, the sideways shimmy of birch and black cherry leaves. One of the neighbors’ hens begins to screech.

The crackle of a grackle. The boosterism of a rooster. The incessant cheer of a vireo. My ears take refuge in the creek, that labile Babel.

Silent wings of a hawk disappearing behind the trees, those skeletons turning green with new life. The neighbors’ hoarse rooster starts up.

The first daffodils are in bloom in the cool sunlight, facing in all directions from a tight huddle. The neighbors’ rooster crows and crows.