Japanese stiltgrass

Cold and still, with a bright smudge of sun. A white-throated sparrow joins a junco in the dried stiltgrass, burrowing into it like a vole.

A titmouse scolds something hidden among blood-red barberries. The dead stiltgrass twitches with a second life like hair on a corpse.

Two crickets are having a singing contest among the stiltgrass, which is now quite red and swept back in one direction as if with a comb.

Japanese stiltgrass stems are reddening, and their leaves beaded with dew remind me of that haiku synecdoche for the season: autumn grasses.

A lone stalk of whorled loosestrife stands amidst the flattened stiltgrass, its blossoms overturned by last night’s storm. The stream roars.

While I’ve been gone, two invading armies have battled for control of the yard. The stiltgrass seems to be winning against the periwinkle.