On the phone, you describe a hawk
stalking a wren on the woodpile.
Probably a Cooper’s, you say, not sure
which bird to root for. The hawk
has all the clichés of a killer—
wicked talons, silent wings,
and a hooked beak designed
with small spines in mind.
The little brown wing flits panicked
from chink to chink under the rustling
steps of a patient hunter. Between talk
of snow and painting the kitchen,
you report the wren’s escape
with relief. If hope
were a thing with feathers,
I would steal its mottled egg.
Darkness roosts in the trees,
its feathers thicker
every morning. As soon as I adjust,
the dark opens its eyes.
When You Go to Bed Early
Dark pines skirmish with the stars;
a raccoon pads across
fallen needles underneath.
The hens won’t scream
if one or even seven are taken,
but in the morning, feathers
are scattered like dirty clothes. Lightning
bugs spark off the flinty air. Nothing
lurks in the orchard; moon shadows
of fence posts and tomato plants
are clear and still. Dark coats
my eyes in something like sleep.