Monday, September 26, 2016


Is It




the stars

or stars


over the



4-foot wing span

Opens above me

Calls nothing

Flies over the river

Almost hides itself

Into a dead elm tree

And I stand in place watching

Solitary, the books say —

In 200 yards I’m standing

Across from the bird

And it hates it —

Quick screech calls

Fly backwards

200 yards

Lands where it began

A Tree Full of Birds

                                          for Janine Pommy Vega

That’s what I heard one morning

In a no-nothing town between

Phoenix and Tucson, where it

Appeared desolate and desperate

With a mall and motel and a big

Highway running through it all

And even the motel desk didn’t

Know the name of the route number

Of the highway when I asked the

Next morning with a desire to go

To the mountains north — as if no

One went to the mountains from here —

But I did, and before I left, hours

Before I asked any questions, birds

By the hundreds came to the trees and

Bushes of this motel square, dipping

Even into the swimming pool, and whether

It was sunrise that lit each bird yellow

Or if in fact they were yellow and each

Singing magnificently in the coolness of

Daybreak when I was awakened gladly

And stepped out my door and onto a long

Balcony to see and hear and feel the most

                                           Beautiful day in the world begin


B O B     A R N O L D
Once In Vermont