Two daughters’ eyes are blue.
Not the blue of jay’s wings or robin’s egg.
But the blue-gray of sky at daybreak
when night’s breath
still lingers over the horizon.

Another, brown, pure brown.
Mud, chocolate, pudding.
Brown straight off the painter’s palette.

And the fourth, gray-brown.
Like bark, a weathered coin.
A coin easily exchanged,
the blinking of an eye.

The maple
in my yard
the sky
like black lace
on marbled blue
What tricks
light plays,
so many are
the colors
of the maple.

The magpie, painted ebony black
and snow white, wears metallic blue
tailfeathers and sports a metallic blue bib.
What manners—to see this gentlebird
devour with beak and claw his supper.
When he tucked in for his first course,
he began by pulling out the feathers
one by one, from his prey,
like a child peeling off the wrapper
from a store-bought pastry
and setting aside bits of wrapper,
or like a French farmwife
removing the outer leaves
of fresh artichoke.

There was little pomp as the magpie
tugged out downy feathers.
Cars rounding the corner could not see
the fledgling and did not notice the magpie, who—
in his ebony black and ivory tuxedo
with metallic blue bowtie,
was dressed to kill.

Suddenly, the mother dove dropped from her nest
like a drone and blocked momentarily
her fledgling from the magpie’s reach.
In that instant, the fledgling lifted off,
and in one wild frantic effort to fly,
sailed over the sidewalk,
and landed several feet away
in the path of a moving vehicle,
which unceremoniously deprived
our gentlebird of his evening’s feast.

Of the
The broad way
Cries –
And I watch him, listen awed
At his heronwaul, bawd
Crying at the moonrise.

And the longlegged bird
Crosses the fallow
Where the calves now low
At the cow’s tail of the herd
And the sinewy wings scan
The heavens they span.

All day long the egret
Kept company with cows
While on slim-stemmed legs he flit
Hooves and grass stems to carouse
On the flies who came and clung
To the fresh cow dung.

But now the herdsboy calls
His cows from the pasture
And the egret-harrier
Turns too, for night falls.
Turns, and leaves his day companions:
His world is not the world of men.

Fly, egret, home to your palm-nest,
Home to your crooning mate, lest
Night’s hawk fingers grip you, take you,
Lest her hunter eye unmake you,
Fly! What would a bird of purest white
Harrow, hope for, in the night?

And the egret, whose neck rivals the grace
Of a swan’s neck, turns, flees,
Crying and calling over the trees
In terror, in terror, of the moon’s white face.

She rose with dawn
And walked down lawns
Drenched in dew
To gather—Thoughts—

Her white dress was a palette
And as a squirrel hoards
Acorns—she collected
Images—her Pearls—

Scarlet maple, silver frost,
Green crocus sleeve—
Lace of apple blossom,
White clover fleece.

She barred her door for Winter
But still her summer haunts
Emerged as stowaways—
Intruding—like the Moth.

So, seamlessly
As Spider—spinning silk—
She conjured Images
With pen and ink.

Her skeins of poetry
Snag me still—
The crack of river’s Thaw
That startles like a whip.

I have not grasped
what is not my own.
When I held
the ocean water,
the deep muscle of the ocean
called it back.

I have not grasped
what is not my own.
The air I breathe,
I exhale. My lungs
release molecules
rhythmically. I return
what I receive.

I have not grasped
what is not my own.
Like a sail, I skirt
along the shore,
across crested waves,
taking nothing.
The ride is free.
The sail billows,
receives without
taking anything.

Like the push and pull
of the moon
that rearranges the shore,
but removes nothing,
not even a grain of sand,
so, too, I have taken nothing
for the journey.

Even the air I breathe
is yours.