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Tall gray bird, an egret I think, standing

in the shallows of a small pond over in

the fields behind the high school,

poised, quiet, elegant, intensely

focused, his head with its long beak

snapping suddenly like a whip

into the water, stabbing at one

of the innumerable, plump, brown

tadpoles beginning to kick their frog

legs. But he misses, comes up dry,

his beady eyes staring down

into the dark water, incredulous

at having missed and,

if I didn’t know better, a little

bit embarrassed about it too.



two little blue eggs


Red-breasted Robin nesting again

this year in the lush climbing hydrangea

on the landing going up to our deck.

We try, creeping by like mice,

not to walk close and scare her,

keep the back windows closed too,

so she isn’t startled, squirting off into the trees,

leaving her nest with her two little blue eggs

unattended, unguarded, and unwarm.





A garter snake fatter around than most rests

like a lazy dinosaur

on the warm rocks alongside the front walk.

I'm surprised when my wife

asks me to catch him

and let him go in her flower garden.

“But he's a snake,” I say.

“Yes,” she says,

“and I want him in my garden

to get rid of the moles and mice.” I smile.

“He will get rid of the moles and mice won't he?”

I smile again, “Why of course, honey.”

Though I know he's too small for that

I simply cannot resist the temptation

of putting a snake back

into the Garden at the request of a Woman.



sticks and straw


The poised green frog

in Pat’s garden pond has left,

hopped its way through the woods

beneath the trees and bushes and weeds

to the amiable stream down in back.

It was fun seeing him sitting there

on his rock motionless as moonlight,

quiet as the moon, stiff and still

as a gargoyle. And now, today,

in the afternoon light, he’s gone.

But I’m not completely sad

because the Robin is back, built her nest

in the same spot again as last summer,

halfway down the stairs from the deck,

on the landing right in the middle

of Pat’s huge, sprawling climbing Hydrangea.

If you walk really slowly and careful

you can get close without her flying away,

squirting off her nest of sticks and straw

disappearing into the cool green trees beyond.



Kettling of Hawks


Grainy-textured turquoise hue like a dying flame

scrapes at my white and dusty collar bones,

and at the base of my thick skull, scrapes

until my flesh is pink again,

dream-like streaks tug at my soul

or perhaps it’s my psyche, I frequently confuse

the two, then my wife speaks, cracks open,

like cracking open a pink lobster, my revere –

“One of the birdwatchers on the mountain today

lent us his binoculars so we could see

the hawks kettling, rising up over the trees

where the tree-line ropes off the horizon,

and it was an amazing sight to witness.

Have you ever heard of kettling before?”

“Well no,” I say, and while I’m uncertain

if it is a correct term it sounds good,

sounds poetic – a kettling of hawks, as it turns out,

is a gathering of hawks flying together

in a flock, rising and swooping,

sometimes lazy, other times intense,

and as the hawks flew, pumping their wings

then gliding, through my psyche, or maybe

my soul, they caused

the scraping to cease for a time

in the dusk before nightfall,

and that made me feel good

for the first time that day.