The life of birds

Every spring the birds court their mates
and through the summer raise their young.
In autumn, they fly thousands of miles south.
In winter, the bare-limbed trees reveal the hidden nests
that they built in the spring.

Many lives lived season to season,
while I live only one through the years.

The Old Town

The traveler had gone this way before
and the route was familiar in its bends
even though the roadside inns he had known
were shuttered closed and eyeless.

At a spring made from snowmelt,
he doffed his hat to cup the cold water,
dousing his sunburnt face
when he saw the town’s stone marker.

He brushed his thumb against it fondly
and in his mind’s eye he cut the forest for grass
returning it to cow pasture, full of forget-me-nots.

A shy girl he had asked to dance on May Day,
decades ago, had loved them,
and pressed them between old books
to preserve them through the seasons.

He rose from aching knees,
knowing he couldn’t stay any longer
or he’d forget where he was going.

A Friend from Summer Camp

A girl who wore red ribbons in her hair
took one off to tie around
the wrist of her dear friend
asking her to promise to never take it off.

It stayed there through summer, fall, and winter.
In spring, the bare-limbed trees
began to sprout green buds.

While the ribbon had withered,
turning brown and tattered,
the girl had grown three inches
and cut her hair short;
She no longer wore pigtails.