IN STUBBLE FIELDS
West Tisbury MA; November
Sleek vested creatures -- mice, voles, or relatives
unknown; sharp-nosed, sharp-eyed, whisking your purposed
ways beneath bent stover, each hair hard-wired for
danger or a lucky fallen morsel near
the trail -- we’re sudden cousins: here, in pale
northwest light, in a dry field dreaming of snow,
where brown stalks rasp and autumn asters furnish
lingering points of blue.
The waxwings have taken
fall leave, their buzzy chat deferred to berry times.
A woodcock zips up his travel bag. In short
a sketch from Breughel -- if a hawk-shaped shadow
didn’t override the scene. The audio cuts off,
all rustles cease. White shirtfronts pressed to earth, ears
flat, my small companions freeze. Caught clumsily
I do the same: stand mute until the silent
hunting shade floats past.
Between indifferent strikes
the chill times out, our whiskered plans resume.
I’ll gather kernels from the corncob sun
and harbor them until the winter’s done.
Version first published in Watered Colors (2014)