Birds, Late March

They call and carol even in rain—
Vernal birds, signal singers at equinox
Chickadee, robin, Red-wing, finch 

They don’t wing across the gray fields
Or rise from gullies still gone to fog
Or climb the ashen sky

They sing from the riddled black 
Of branches, the iced brown of pond stalks
Beyond this blurred screen, this free-fall 

Of water, this weeping that washes 
Sullied snow from earth’s cragged surfaces 
That feeds the perennial thrust of buds

Sodden, milky melt that drains to roots
Hidden in obsidian, mute as clamped petals
Urgent as purple, scarlet, blue

These birds I can’t see, cloistered as sun
Huddled but here, the way hope 
Hides in cells, in branches of bone

Then opens like lungs
And sings and sings and sings

ELIZABETH JANE WHITTINGTON'S writing has appeared most recently in Black Fox Literary Review, After the Pause, and Crack the Spine Literary Magazine. She lives in Cornish, New Hampshire and manages a literary resource on Facebook at Twitter: @onemorestar48
The Adirondack Review