common grackle

Cold rain and fog. A flock of grackles wheels low over the house—the sudden waterfall sound of their wings all turning at once.

Sun gleams on the rain-damp leaf duff. In the blue sky, a grackle cackles. Blue jays jeer. The lilac limbs are beginning to blush green.

A silver-spotted skipper flies back and forth in front of the porch a dozen times. A grackle comes in croaking for a drink from the creek.

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.

Momentary things: A chipmunk pressing the rain from its fur. The swaying of a branch from which a grackle has just taken flight.

The barberry bush above the stream is in bloom, demure rows of yellow bells that smell like sperm. A grackle flies up—his raspy call.

Each bird I see has something in its beak: wren—a streamer of dried grass, chickadee—a seed, towhee—a bundle of stalks, grackle—a millipede.