may pond, 2&3

17 may

which will I remember for you—
grass-grown gravel track away
from constant surge and pass of cars
in bright sunshine; eight ducklings
tumbling in still water beneath the bank;
willow’s huge grateful shade; one tractor
loud-plowing this last possible acre
among apartments, hospital, shopping mall


18 may

all ducklings aground
in hidden huddled shelter;
gust-ruffled water


(the daughter visits)

and I’m thinking of our slow spring days
fascination with eaglet, cygnet
all unfinished things in leaf or on wing

the pleasure in daily checking
pea plant, lettuce bed, sunflower sprout
until that startling morning

we see all is grown beautiful, glossy, wild
shining, confident beyond need
or desire of our shaping



watching the neighbors

dreaming crabapple, pomegranate-bright
paired cardinals, redbud, tulips bobbing
in tattered sunlight—I see people—
outside!—discussing the trim of a tree


how nothing in pendant birch-pods
questing tendril peas nor even flight of bees
suggests an asteroid skimming past
only five times farther than the moon


…but it happened…asteroid info here.


spring pond


the ground mud-soft, so
over there a fence goes up
around the playground
(out with the old and in
with the new); the sidewalk trees
have fresh-cut eyes; smoke
of the prairie-burn drifts north
with this craze for nesting
these fussy pairs of geese


you follow the beacons
of bud-blaze, red

find, mud-still (mud,
still—) a man is fishing



to the playground with dog and daughter
dusk on its gray-day soft falling
we have not been speaking, much

the young dog balking at her leash
we try volleyball with two then three
move on so my eye is caught
by the bird nest, how it grows snug
over and around its branches

a labor of instinct no less than love
to withstand even yesterday’s storm
and certainly tomorrow’s—a thing crafted
stick by stick, thread by thread
has no good reason to fail in any season

makes a habit of staying past resentment
of being patched again by smile and sun
deferring to earthbound need


In Like a Hawk

sudden, you were there—or
sudden, I caught sight of you
there, in the crabapple, too large,
proud, still, as it swayed and bobbed

feeders wild-gyrate in the wind
that lifted your chest feathers
like an impertinent hand
(that blaze of white!)

but majesty is ever unruffled
and if there is a king of birds
in this yard, your calm red eye
sleek head turning, turning claims it

fixing my restless form
in these shadows behind glass,
behind curtains, hold-not-holding
my breath and how long I gaze
but turn away first, wondering

what sign, omen, message
did you bring: that I should keep watchful?
be patient, unmoved? make eye contact
and my presence known, then fly on
when no one’s looking