Chalk up a blue moon over the stooped back
of Fullhart Knob. Again we make our way
out the dry ridges where a raven rings
a cracked bell, and we set to counting birds
as much by heart as ear. Here—
but which winter?—was a hermit thrush,
cocking a red tail at us; here a brown creeper
skittered a spiral up the knobbed persimmon.
Although the woods hang silent, at our feet
old peaks and valleys settle with a rush
of folding wings. Now I can hear
a winter wren—far back—loose a cascade
as your lips brush my cheek;
and there, at the fallen gate to the old field,
love hurls the woodcock at the Pleiades
and lets him fall, in a long down-spiral thrum.
Next April, will pine warblers throb
in this bent stand of pitch pine? You and I
will chuckle, close beneath them, our list long
though every season gently we lose ground
until a pressure of hand laid on knee,
a thought’s stroking, a crease
on either side the mouth, a smile’s dry bed,
sums what we had, we have.