‪Something sets off the neighbor’s rooster, and a few moments later a raven flies past the porch, croaking like a duck with laryngitis.‬

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.