Needles of sleet fell all throughout the night
And the towhee pecks at the hardened crust,
Seeking the moist carpet of leaves below.
But it is too deep. Only the memory
Of his stutter step foraging remains:
Of hopping ahead and jumping backwards,
Of when he tossed aloft the ground cover,
The turning of each leaf, shoving, pulling,
And searching for the mysteries beneath.
He’d been so happy to be that busy
With the bounty of everlasting work,
Patient in the quest for a tiny seed,
The egg of an insect, a spent morsel.
He flies to the white paper birch and joins
With the juncos and the chipping sparrow
Perched in the ribs of the tree’s skeleton
Under the grey breast of the winter sky.
He waits for the promise of tomorrow
In the biting wind and the falling snow,
Warmed by the furnace of his colossal heart.
New numbers in the drill.