At the very top story of night,
a white gull wails, wheeling.
How would I know if
it were telling the truth? I'm not.
Above the crust of light at the rim of the sky,
a few stars survive the glow of earth.
It's a common thing, a scavenger.
It cries at the edge of what works.
The red-winged blackbird announces spring
by announcing itself: a series of clicks,
a rising song, a flash of red.
Winter is dead.
No. That's wrong. Just one of the tricks
that order can bring.
Moments after the blackbird calls,
a siren sounds.
Somewhere downtown, flame unwinds,
and the fireman finds
out where to respond
by counting the wailing lifts and falls.
The blackbird's like the willow tree:
early to announce and easy to connect
to change – sudden color on sullen gray.
But hard as I listen to the way
spring builds, I still can't decipher the wreck
of winter. What's gone? And how do we
know? By naming, I guess. By numbering the days.
Our version of praise.