Once struck, one will
flinch when the hand
moves. In the corners
of their eyes, gold-
finches see small changes
we can’t. Feeding alone
at the seed. Sometimes
even open places seem
to be draped, hung
with pain, a heavy
airless fabric woven close,
pulling down what rod
exists to hold it.
Yet we walk through
as if this could
not be: Talking, talking
about where things landed
after a storm, about
how where they landed
still they lay: Limbs
so near the source
that they are green,
or not yet green,
but as they were
before this. We see
where we may lay
a foundation, but in
what shape, to what
end is yet unknown.
Of all the minutes,
full, dark, and round,
wearing down any thing
once strong, we each
are given one. Once
struck, one stands again,
leaning on the lone
tree in the field,
where a hawk watches
for wind, or life,
or movement, then, that
time should stop, there
in the flattened grass.




Sun, say the birds, is the law
birds obey. Today, today and today.
Sun is the early knowledge
parents don’t import.
They know it well, like hunger.
Sun is the sated owl, still.

Sun, caws the crow with a drumming neck,
calling to lesser flyers,
Sun draws the line from scent to sight.
Sun is my limb and rooftop.

Sun, speaks the jay as it chokes down water,
singing through water and seed,
Sun is as I’ve said every day,
Sun is as we all understand,
Sun is let me speak our agreement with a racket,
Sun is The Sun.

But moving warblers whistle:
Sun is both music and fear.
Chuck Will’s widows, saw-whets say,
Sun is no more
Sun has gone away.

The rook, who can move in any direction,
listens in all directions.
What does it know,
holding in its mouth all colors,
absorbed in its vision,
drawn to a sun-caught thing.

The flash of it—
Sun losing its grip on the far
bluff side of the earth—
is the last thing the rook
sees each night before vanishing.
It moves closer to the end
every day, its black beak opening
hoping to grasp one facet of the eye-like
cut, and each night it closes on air.