pileated woodpecker

Noise from the quarry—a grinding drone that runs under everything: oriole song, woodpecker drumming, a hummingbird’s Geiger-counter clicks.

Talking drums—two pileated woodpeckers on opposite ridges. Rain taps on the roof. The green wall of leaves at the woods’ edge is filling in.

Overcast and cold. I am listening to the woodpeckers the way one listens to a marimba, savoring the varied, rich tones of dead wood.

At the woods’ edge, the tulip poplar sprouts a scarlet thorn: pileated woodpecker. A gust of wind drops a dried leaf into my lap.

A yellow smear of sun on the white-bread sky. The distant knocks of a pileated woodpecker seeking admittance to frozen galleries of ants.

Crystal clear and quiet, except for the methodical hammer-blows of a pileated woodpecker performing surgery on a tree afflicted with ants.