|Elizabeth Olds / Smithsonian|
THE BIRDS OF THE PANDEMIC
The birds return in shifts: robins first like intrepid scouts,
crows who crowdsource, blackbirds, thick in the conifers, the geese
who sense a change in the air, alter their flightpath, keep a distance, and that
unknown bird who fills twilight with 'you girl you girl, you pretty, pretty girl.'
The trees wake like sleepers from a dream of plenty, the forest
on edge, wary of change, even as snow gives way to water pooling in the hollows
between pine and spruce, brown needles and green fans of cedar and juniper
fill the air with a tang and a sigh and a memory of something found and then lost.
The cats eye us with disinterest as usual, as usual preen themselves
and pester to be let out, not to prowl in meadow or wood but to linger,
to pounce and twitch and shimmy in the sun that, against all odds,strikes the south-facing porch, solely for their delight, a few minutes earlier each day.
Anne Archer is a poet and musician who lives near Sharbot Lake, Ontario.