Clear and cold at sunrise. A migrant thrush calls from the not-yet-ruined temple of the trees. Overhead, the archaic smile of the moon.
A wash of cirrus below the moon’s inverted bowl. A northern pearly-eye butterfly perches on the porch, bullseyes shining on its underwings.
Beads of rain that were shining moonlets 10 hours ago are now mere glitter. Night has shrunk to the dark iridescence in a butterfly’s wing.
4:50 a.m.: moonlight and dawn-light are at equilibrium. Then the whip-poor-will starts his insane chant. Other birds wake and chime in.
I take my eye off the clear sky for a moment and suddenly there are clouds—four streaks beside the moon’s thin frown. Cerulean warbler song.
Leaves still cling to the tall locusts—threadbare coats of gold beneath the fourth-quarter moon, pale as a discarded toenail clipping.
A galaxy of sparkles in the yard where the sunlight hits a patch of frost. The fourth-quarter moon hangs low over the trees. A grouse drums.