The yellow blaze of the wood warbler
begins to glow on the highest branch:
she perches, uncovered, snatching every bug
that floats by in the sunbright, winter wind,
occasionally calling a husky chwit,
chwit, unafraid, for the most part, of hawks.
Rough weather, it appears,
only brightens her color. I’ve taken to praying
at night, not much,
a word or two mouthed upon the sleeping altar
of your back, to the wide desert sky,
to a thorny, quiet mesquite
of my heart.
Small, toothed leaves, fuzz
of flowers in April, green pods—hanging velvet—in June.
My mesquite, lean
and bare in December,
and the hardy Yellow-rumped atop,
long-tailed and rather large,
armed with a stout, dark bill,
undaunted by winter, bustling forward
even as her kin (Hooded, Hermit,
Black-throated Gray) flee farther south
to tender hills of oversized flowers.
Claire Skinner is a student at the University of Michigan MFA program. She enjoys rhyme, couplets, semi-colons, and the occasional cliché.