Once a raven with a yellow ball flew by 

as though it held the winter sun in its beak 

and I thought 

I too know how to carry an idea

and send it skyward. An old birch

showed me how:

At the end of each summer, 


until another color arrives. 

But I forgot this 

as a September snow draped its heavy

early blanket 

over gilt-green leaves. It bent

the trees, stripping the old birch 

to a single limbless pyre 

above a broken tangle.

An owl found it first.

Perching the horn of its body on this new

edge, it sent a breathy herald out

across the valley.

Next, a falcon stood

with feathers fluffed on the birch’s ledge

ready to drop

and then to rise

as if all of this was no

secret. I agree, most of the time.

There is so much to polish, in this world. So much 

waiting to be seen

or to see, eager

to carry something 


toward the light.  

During the next winter storm, two ravens settled

on the birch’s rim, standing together

while a new snow whirled and scraped,


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