pileated woodpecker

A pileated woodpecker trepanning an oak to extract its harmful inhabitants the ants. Distant shots from deer hunters at a similar task.

In the valley, two train whistles—one high, one low. Down-hollow, two drumming woodpeckers—likewise. A clearing wind dries the heavy dew.

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.

Just in from the woods’ edge, pileated woodpeckers are carrying on like drunks at a party, hollering, pounding, shrieking with joy or rage.

The sky darkens, squirrels and jays scold an unseen threat, a pileated woodpecker makes a histrionic exit. Then nothing. The sky brightens.