Butterflies drop-stitch to the butterfly bush,
yellow hinge, black hinge,
______________freed from the door of perception.
Spurt of wren flight out of the boxwood.
The morning idles, engines trimmed,
cicadas trolling the understory.
Time is taking its time for the moment.
Nothing doing though I think a pepper
is ripening on the pepper plant.
Then I notice the slow muscle of him
climbing the dogwood, yard-long,
__________________inching his way
toward the cardinal nest.
He’ll unhinge his jaw if need be.
What is more silent than an egg?
He’ll take each one into his mouth,
thread himself with them,
______________his body bulge strung.
If he’s grateful I don’t know it
when he lets himself back down noiselessly.
Hard by joe-pye and jimson weed,
in the scrick-scrack of the ditch trash,
some leftover slats knocked together,
painted white, a bouquet of plastic flowers beside.
Someone died here, perhaps of excessive speed,
perhaps nodding into the last nap,
___________________and now nothing is more silent
in sad mute elegy than plastic flowers
and the slipshod cross that all afternoon
keeps driving itself into the earth.
The night is body temperature.
_________________Full moon glints the nail heads
in the backyard picket fence.
__Trees glide in the orb’s good graces.
Is there anything more quiet than moonlight?
Slats and shadows of slats, that bright a night,
rungs the light has laid down.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.