Grandfather built birdhouses

Cedar shavings scented winter days

Skies empty of south flying transients.

Corduroy pants seat, held in arm

Pages turning; he recited names

Incantations. Calling back warblers

lesser yellowlegs, purple martins,

Living in watercolor extravagance.

Green springing forth in admirable tenacity,

Hands under wool sweatered armpits,

I peer into the homes of birds,

Where they’ve nested in apple trees

Abandoned orchards, light fixtures, porch gables

And cedar birdhouses that hang


In our woods.




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