elm

‪The predicted snow is a no-show. A squirrel races up the dead elm, pokes its head in the den hole, and hurries back down. What has it lost?‬

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.