The first days brought a Cooper’s hawk, wings covering
her chicks high in the neighbor’s hackberry
tree, her countenance unsparing as a death
sentence as she surveyed the treed canopy.
And as days turned to weeks, the scarlet flame
that burns on the head of the yellowhammer
appeared again and again, pentecost
daily descending upon the tulip poplar,
and purple finches and goldfinches flew
in two-by-two, male and female they came,
followed by the blur of the summer’s first
ruby throat, humming despite our dismay.
On the fortieth day, rose-breasted grosbeaks-
a trio of them-took charge of the altar bearing
the birdseed and devoured the offered feast,
a kind of eucharist, at least for feathered things.
Cover image Fred Moon