She's seen the birds mate before.
The circle of seasons is quick.
North Carolina dogwoods, two, among
several, she'd thought dead last year
and planned to fell. Blood-red leaves now,
a bounty. Seductive, as usual, they draw
the road further out. The uneven ground
beneath her feet: smelling of sinkhole and
wood rot: what she knows most of love
and takes, rattling the dark limb for one
last kiss. For weeks, the two hawks, male
and female, have flown to the lowest branch,
of the age-damaged tree, and perched.
Is it a reflection, of themselves or the limb
they hold to, in the glass door that sings them
near? Morning is alive with autumn bristle
and brush: as if the recently planted
plectranthus, their vials of miniature purple
trumpets, had beckoned these two birds
to the front stoup, where side by side
for a long time they'd slumber on the iron
railing. And leaving, each with its blast
of wing stroke, the male would fly into,
repeatedly bump the door, the transom
so, she thinks, to inscribe his name, the hour.
When the whole glass tinkles like it's broken
and falling but it isn't.
Light brings every leaf,
is its downfall. Nothing
new and everything
new to say about acorns
this time of year: a bounty
of rain when the air
whips to wind. This sun
to limn and laud the forest,
a world of worlds
gone dark with yet another
killing, one more cruelty
of moving earth.
Starlight its own kind
of beautiful signal. Listen
to the warbler today
singing requiem as peach
as dusk while gold larks
to the still green blades
and all those birds looping
and gliding, with no sense of
an end line or knot to hold,
beading the air with their red.
L.B. Green is a writer, poet, painter, and photographer. She is the author of the books Judas Trees North of the House (2003), Night Garden (2009) and THE ART OF SEEING In Sweet Silent Thought (2010), a collection of poetry and photography. The North Carolina Arts Council, the MacDowell Colony, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts have awarded her grants and fellowships in literature for poetry. The recipient of both the Robert Ruark Foundation Prize and the Randall Jarrell Prize for poetry, her work has been published in anthologies, journals, magazines, and newspapers, in print and online, including: The Southern Review, RHINO, Cold Mountain Review, Rattle, the Penwood REview, and the 40th Anniversary Anthology, Entering the Real World: VCCA Poets on Mt. San Angelo.