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Trapped on the porch, a fly buzzes me.
Cooler nights have made it slow.
Morning drags out vowel by vowel.

Mourning, I mean.

Space plays tricks with sounds.
Blocks away, school playground laughs and screams.
One tortured swing keens up and down unbearably.

Closer, birds descant, twitter
flit at the feeders and the water.
Silence drops like an accipiter.

Blue-gray power
reddish streak, blur
and flap flap flap

but faster than words
wings pump air in measured beats.
I lose my breath.

Feathers keep falling softly.
One sticks to the screen

The sharp-shinned hawk
is gone, and all starts up anew.
Not all.

Is the morning loud and plumb again?
Is the world tilting only to me?
I hear the birds singing to each other,

laughter rising
here now always
the quick and the dead

the children’s playthings
broken under the swings
time’s darlings.


Elinor Ann Walker teaches writing online at the University of Maryland-University College. She’s published scholarly work but considers herself a recovering academic. Her poems (also under “Ann Walker Phillips”) have appeared in Poet Lore, The Christian Science Monitor, Cicada, Rosebud, Mezzo Cammin, Soundzine, and in the anthology Stone Renga. She lives in Tennessee with four dogs and her family and spends as much time as possible by her pond.

© 2018, Elinor Ann Walker

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