The painted bunting cannot escape
the mesh. Wings and head tangled,
feet twisted in black net. It rests in the net,
begins to flutter at the bander's approach.
Quietly, she encloses its wings in her hand.
Pulling the net from its feet, wings, head,
it flaps and pecks at her fingers, the angle
of the sun that drives it to flight fading for the day.
She places the rainbow bird in a white bag
Painted buntings have taken this route
since time has been measured. Only Archaeopteyx
can reveal if flight grew from a glide to another tree,
a hop to a branch. Its ancestors have seen the growth
and retreat of great ice, birds follow the same path
despite clear-cut forests and barrier islands
swept clean by Katrina. The bander
places a silver bracelet on its leg, measures
wing, tail, and bill. It rests for a moment
in the bander's hand
this strange perch.
THE PALED MOON IS ERASED
as sunflower yellows to morning.
A moth hides from day
under shaded bark. Wind
plucks a wisp of dandelion and nestles
it into grass. Summered heat distorts
distant poplars. Mimosa's
dusk-scent settles on evening's
folded leaves. The sun's remnant,
a cloak of isolation,
The Bishop's House Review
SLICES OF AUTUMN
the fallen poplar.
An understoried redbud
will take its place.
The pond's muddied
edge unfolds a great egret:
a study in white.
The sun silvers
a spider's final web,
the last light seen
when you close
The Cherry Blossom Review
Small trailer, screened in porch, a door that sticks, brown couch, blue recliner,
coffee table. The husband, gray, thin, cyanotic lips, oxygen cannula around his
face. I have come to treat him. Strengthening exercises the doctor said.
The wife, warped by a muscle imbalance, useless arm akimbo. Despite their
problems, they manage, just like my parents I think. She showed me how to
increase the oxygen flow if he needs more. I know nothing of their life.
I pull into the drive by the ambulance. Gray body stretched on the floor, chair
out of place, she is screaming into the phone. "Come quick, Bill is dead" All
I knew was to hold her. Neighbors stop by, the police. "I didn't do nothing,
I did the best I could," she cries. Tried to get in touch with her son, but I was
shaking so hard I couldn't dial. Someone goes to get him. The ambulance crew
gets information. Her parents finally come.
My father undergoing angioplasty, my mother sits alone in the wrong waiting
room, not even a volunteer to ask about family, any conversation to make
the time go faster. My parents told me not to come. A long day, the procedure
delayed. Finally someone finds her, everything has gone well. She asks for a
phone to call me. What were they thinking about me?
pouch so I'll
of the migrating
sliding the drift
The Bishop's House Review
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Snow laces branches and melts
in the stream that slips
between shaded hills.
Quietly, it slides
past trout lily and snakes
around remnants of shattered
stills. Winding its way
through running cedar,
it passes the ivory
remains of deer season. Snow
softens the landscape
but cannot cover
the bared ribs.