elm

Clear and dead still. A flicker lands on the elm snag and pokes into the old den hole. Her wings, when she flies, glow yellow in the sun.

A pileated woodpecker lands on the dead elm with a rattle of wings, the elm swaying. Below in the lilac a titmouse hammers away at an acorn.

The yellow is moving up from the goldenrod to the birches, tulip trees and elms. A red-bellied woodpecker’s shrill calls end in a trill.

A squirrel enters the cavity in the dead elm and rests its chin on the lip of the hole, watching silently as juncos swirl through the yard.

Where the sun shines through elms and birches, almost half the leaves are already yellow. In the meadow, the goldenrod is at its height.