bird, dog, cat

it happens
from time to time, a mystery
small bird in the house

junco wild-flight hurl at glass door
falling stunned; sparrow
parked on pantry, peering
black-eyed over the molding

how it spent a night in the mixing bowl
how I caught it in the curtain, heart beating
flutter in my closed hand
how the dog whined and pointed
how the cat had grown bored long since
the gift already given

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This winter

is snow on ice on ice on snow
and we know this is metaphor
also, this floundering through drifts
and bleak shivering, a slip and a fall

juncos flit and chickadees
never give up their song, the warning note
for all these branches bent under
their own frozen weight, summer’s broken stems
brittle and glazed

how far down do we hold our love’s roots, the seeds
and is this the winter
that kills them

the world tells you again

in this fountaining the flutter
wing-dust and scattered
seed, greening

why should you not return
to heartening beneath
your one-note lament

and need for salt don’t say
it’s always the same
for when have you ever noticed

roses blown open to rain
robins food-screeching
in your window-tree?

April Gifts

i.

the cardinal sudden like words
from a friend, bright unexpected
against leafless sky, same sweet
song and soul-balm

ii.

not faith but a kind of pride, your belief
every day should offer something
like this dirt finally warming,
hand-crumbled, enough?

iii.

if the pansies survive
this record cold, it is no god’s bow
to the balance due, nor even
to your impatience

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