Friday, December 8, 2023


Under the severe 
and age-old discipline 
of winter,  

it grows more 
and more difficult to recall 
the eager colors 

or the deftly 
phrased but simply stated 
songs of lost companions 

like the iridescent starling 
and the ardent, 
chatty cardinal. Now, 

under headstone-
heavy (and just as gray)
skies, it's become a lot simpler 

to fall in line
and recite, in 
alphabetical order,

strict lists 
of their names in 
binomial Latin—

preferably from 
memory, and quick 
as we can—lest we 

get a cold rap 
on the knuckles