I’m tired of saying oh the birds,

listen to the birds,

as once again, they parcel out the sky.


I want to feel how their songs are gifts


and the leggy pansies, running to seed

near the end of their season,

and the three strawberries I’ve managed to grow,


each partly rotten or eaten,


the snapdragons and dianthus, mint,

the orangey-pink geranium, marigolds, lantanas,

raindrops after storm dripping from the eaves,


the squirrel that just bounded across the yard


and ran up the crape myrtle, the sloosh of cars

driving past down the wet street—and a memory,

so early I don’t even know if it’s true,


myself, lying in a high single bed in a hotel, watching


the blurred reflection of streetlights in the window

as their lozenges of color changed, hearing

that same wet sloosh—the mystery that surrounds us,


the otherness of lives passing on the night street


as I lay cocooned in my parents’ love,

in the lights, the rain—and now here, in this fraught season,

the fine mesh and delicate tracery of leaves


on trees so huge they nearly blot out the white sky,


behind this, the battered sun, my flowers in their pots

lining the old brick walkway to the four steps,

the porch of this ramshackle Mississippi house, the rocking chair—