Something is about to pass through. If we stand still
enough. If we sleep
Early morning's glimmer of steel,
Just to feel it rushing
Migration is a kind of afterlife—
flight that follows no
But by this day last year the white-throated sparrows
successive notes, like silver flecks.
They never stay for long; they're on the way to Canada.
May 5. The absence is too high and thin
I saw no Way—The Heavens were stitched—
The smaller birds more comfortable with stars
fly mostly at night.
The nearby woods let darkness in and out
it pools each dusk at every trailhead.
And a little dark that stays in us in the daytime
Now that snow is gone we find it:
Alyce Olsen on a Nature Center brick.
Antique handwriting of the chisel,
all you say are names
subject to dissolve.
Sunrise and sunset each make a path
one into light one into dark
but that is not where we are going
except maybe for the waxwings
scavenging sideways, east and west in flocks,
following the berry line.
Deer are the color of trees
when out of mud the dusk makes everything.
Deer are the nothing color at the edge of woods—
three of them poised at the curve
as we are driving by
but as luck would have it
nothing gets hit here tonight,
they don't break from safety as a deer will do
barging out into nothing—a different kind—
The river far below
is said to be for birds a low-pitched sound.
The river mangles everything we must have said.
The water is arriving, it is going away.
There are flecks of seed and talk
of sweetness not yet manifested in the brambles.
I don't know what instinct is,
but it gets birds talking up in the trees,
towhees so high you don't ever spot them
singing drink your tea
while down on earth you wonder—
will we remember the art
of flinging each other so lightly
we rise, each of us, like many ghosts, not one?
Two deer down the river talked to the water
with their heads down low
just after you and your father let her go.
I don't know, I don't know
what ever comes of this. But they said it anyway.
And when we looked up again, they were gone.
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