From the herb bed, I hear the squeaks of a hummingbird sipping from the columbine. Then he’s in my face, gorget like a small red torch.
The first purple irises are opening along the rock wall, their three petals descending like the landing gear on spaceships.
Watched by a chipmunk at the end of the stone wall, I hold a mouthful of coffee in my cheeks, do my best to look as if I know how to live.
Where the fresh snow has just melted on the concrete walkway, a bright green blush of lichen. The nuthatch’s three nasal notes.
Bare ground in the herb bed has risen into spires—a city of frost. A downy woodpecker booms like a pileated on a hollow limb.
A crow flies off cawing and returns silently to the same tree. In the garden, comfrey leaves have begun turning face-down into the earth.
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.
Overcast and damp. In the garden, the new leaves of lamb’s-ears look fresher than they did last fall, delicately furred, alive, alert.
A wind in the night swept the broom off the porch; I find it in the garden. A thin milk of clouds. The sun’s whiskers slowly disappear.
Fine snow blurs the edges of the porch. The feral cat has walked in her own footsteps through the garden, a clear print in each old crater.