Sunday Morning In June

Arched branches catch the slanting light,
maple leaves brighten like bits of green glass.

Toast and coffee wait on the back porch table,
familiar morning gifts
set out in a screen vestibule.

The lawn, a deep green nave vaulted in blue,
stops abruptly at the alley, a simple T
traced in grass and gravel.

From the neighbor’s kitchen window
the clink of a spoon in a cereal bowl
pings like an altar bell, little silver notes
chiming through the high hedge.

A robin splashes in the birdbath,
sprays a blessing of water drops.
Finches and common sparrows
congregate at the feeders.

Pulsing red on a telephone wire, a cardinal
calls out the good news.
The mixed choir chirps and whistles.

A squirrel, stoop-shouldered and gray,
sermonizes from an ash limb.
Peonies kneel at a garden fence,
bow their thick, perfumed heads.

And the faint clink clink clink of metal on china
rings again, like a bell announcing matins.

This Morning

A sparrow slams against the pane
with such a pounding-breakneck-thump
I think the picture window split
or cracked into a spider vein.
As often as we hear them hit,
we always shudder, flinch, or jump.
When birds collide with glass and die
they leave a little viscous smear,
but otherwise the view stays clear
that frames a square of trees and sky.

And you, my love, in this warm bed,
a shiver rippled through your blood.
You looked away and winced and yelped
and pressed your fingers into me
when startled by that beak-first thud.
You sorrow for whatever’s dead
and dread our own fragility.
Our mortal natures can’t be helped,
no more than birds that crash and fall,
mistaking windowpanes for air.
This present moment is our all,
our sliver of eternity.
There’s just the now, this now we share
to jointly breathe and live and be.

The sunlight cuts a glaring line
where pleated curtains nearly meet.
A long white beam transects our feet
then angles sharply like a tine
and strikes a blank impassive wall.
Some trinkets on the dresser shine.
Outside the sparrows chirp and dart.
The rising day won’t let us stall
much longer in our languid rest,
but for this moment I am blest
to know your mind and have your heart
and feel your yielding flesh on mine.