Acrobats of dried thistle stems

twirling upside down to forage


for seed & also known by their bouncing

flight—goldfinches are a glitter of plumage


in lemon, chartreuse, crayoned sun, bright mustard,

absinthe—end of season arrivals & deft


architects lashing cup nests to shaded branches

with spider silk, weaving twig walls


with fluffed down so hatchlings can easily feed.

Let the hawk hang at its height or sever


the sky with the knife-edge of its wing—the trills

of each mated goldfinch pair form


a unique flight song. Vaxxed & vexed, masked

& distancing again, neighbors call


across the fence. Our sunset’s a smoky haze

that also maps wildfires churning


through the west. Down the street someone’s

posted signs that read Be Kind, Hold


on to Hope. I read of shifting flyways & other warming

trends—the finned, the furred, the feathered—


so many vanishings. If, a century ago

you’d seen a school lawn shudder


as dandelions uprooted, swayed and then morphed back

into bird-shapes, or listened to an unexpected melody


as several hundred goldfinches gathered within your gaze—

you’d know why a flock was named a charm.