Another warm morning. I realize I like the dead cherry because it reminds me of winter. A young robin lands on a branch with its beak open.
A dry rattle in the pre-dawn dark: chipping sparrow. I lace up my boots, feeling for the eyelets like a clumsy reader of Braille.
A silk thread—spiderweb? Caterpillar line?—fetches up against the hairs of my arm, sticky, barely visible. A swallowtail’s random dance.
A mourning cloak butterfly circles the porch and yard three times, going behind my chair, including me in whatever it means to outline.
Random lilac, red maple and black cherry leaves have flipped over, exposing their pale undersides—evidence of a downpour in the wee hours.
The early-morning air is already thick with the smell of heat. Sunlit rooms in a palace of leaves. The oriole’s glossy song.
Coffee in my left hand, I weed the herb bed with my right, muttering at the clover: out with you, foul sweetener! as my fingers turn black.
The first irises have opened in the night, some with red and yellow tongues, some with violet, sampling the morning air.
Overcast and damp. The yellow centers of fleabane flowers, closed for the night, are beginning to peek through their spiralled white lashes.
While the catbird warbles jazz, a chipmunk skitters to a halt on the rock wall, sits back on its haunches and scratches its crotch.
A breeze stirs the tulip tree from top to bottom, its four-fingered mitts rocking, cautious as the queen of England’s white-gloved wave.
Each glaucous leaf of the bleeding-heart has rolled its rain into one fat bead. I’m wondering: where have all the wood thrushes gone?
Phoebe in the barnyard, pewee in the woods. What is it about cleared land that turns a lilting refrain into a burden, a shrill work song?
A light drizzle. The one green leaf at the end of a branch on the otherwise dead cherry shakes itself dry and turns back into a hummingbird.