Glenn McPherson: ‘Winter Refuge’

Winter Refuge

The branch the bird left still shakes.
The shaking agitates

A cluster of forgotten leaves,
These fall.

Sense tells us it was a bird
Although we do not see.

The haughty snort, some call
A cough, of dead leaves

On wet earth twenty yards off
Is an urgency of disbelief,

A freeze-dried flake of helium
Balloon against the celebratory

Noise of another hemisphere …

Soon a woman and child
Arrive. The branch, silent.

Stooping, as if peering into a pool,
Waiting for a millipede to hump through

They will notice in a leaf
The dried blood of a lion,

Penelope’s unravelled weave.
And the boy disintegrates as he grasps

So obviously a home;
So bird-barren solemn,

Caught, which is to say uplifted
In the rare light of a tongue of wilderness.

Glenn McPherson

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