A downy woodpecker lands on the dead elm, his black-and-white feathers against the barkless trunk as startling and dramatic as a totem pole.
Gone for just two days, I come home to find half the lilac crushed by a fallen limb from the dead elm. A phoebe already uses it as a perch.
A lone cedar waxwing sits on the topmost branch of the dead elm, wheezing his high thin call as the sky’s deepest blue fades to daylight.
The small cross of a plane against the blue, its distant drone. A flicker climbing the dead elm loses his footing on a patch of sunlight.
Trees rock and sway. The dead elm has parted with its largest limb, and the oblong scar glows a creamy yellow, like a well-aged cheese.
Pale bones of the dead elm, standing at the edge of the yard like an emissary from Lent amidst a Mardi Gras of green, reach into fog.