Tuesday, March 3, 2020


In early March,
the small shock
of a cardinal

like a flame before me—welcome
but undeserved.

I watch as his dart-quick
perfect angles
of arrow-sharp red
and yellow

maneuver onto the uppermost branch
of the still-bare catalpa 
outside my window.

when he starts to sing
in his foreign language
the first refrain
of a long responsorial,

the rest of the congregation below—
all tooth-aches
and scar-tissue,

all still dressed in their
somber brown
and gray graveclothes—

look puzzled, at best
by the echoing missive.

The groggy, the undead,
those fiercely unprepared 
for a sermon

would inevitably mistake
any gospel
for braggadocio;

What earthly utility 
could exist,
they would wonder,

in crowing like this, 
so early in the morning, 
about something only he 
was made to know?