The nail gun and its echo. A robin like a magician keeps pulling green caterpillars from the dead grass.
Shirts barely move on the line, sleeves stretched toward the parched earth. A neighbor across the way yells in a language I don’t recognize.
Cloudless and hot. A magpie and a robin sit in different parts of the elder tree, open-eyed but still. The dog moves to the shade.
Hot and humid. A skinny squirrel slinks through the mock orange and elder tree, trailed by the anxious trills of a robin.
Cloudy and cool. Raised voices over the wall—”You always undercut me!” “You don’t even love me!”—drowned out by a jet on its final descent.
The birds are mostly quiet now, breeding over—except for the robins, one of whom is chirping all ’round the suet, trying to summon a parent.
From a house across the gardens, an infant’s wail. From the street, the din of bin men. And in between, the elder tree rustling with birds.
The dog lies panting in the sun. A magpie’s rattle draws my gaze to a tree laden with green apples, just 50 feet away in a stranger’s yard.
The sun shines in my eyes through an eye-shaped opening in the mock orange. I tilt my head and watch the London dust drift through the beam.
A juvenile blackbird sits inside the suet feeder, pecking at a ball of fat. A few feet away, the hydrangea’s hallucinatory balls of bloom.