On the birdless day at the refuge
the morning was lento
cattails barely moving in breeze.
The canal twisted
its dream paired with cumulous clouds above
trees knocking in wind: their colloquial speech
noon in parentheses
landscape absent of narrative drive.
Just the day before I’d mentioned to a friend
minimal differences: beak size
stance on branch
white eye-ring circling eye.
But birds molt in secret come summer
begin looking messy, away from inquisitive eyes and field guides
missing and growing feathers create gaps in wing
sometime even a missing tail
pre-basic molt, summer plumage
each feather formed in a horney sheath.
With no birds
innocence dried and stilled
like a fermata of Shubert’s held extra long.
Absent common tern, cliff swallow and sparrow
only bush shadows nod and azure sky.
Liz Nakazawa is the editor of Deer Drink the Moon: Poems of Oregon (Ooligan Press), a collection of nature poems by 33 Oregon poets. It was designated one of the Best 100 Books about Oregon in the last 100 Years by the Oregon State Librarian. It was also a
Best Picks of Powell’s. She also edited The Knotted Bond: Oregon Poets Speak of Their Sisters (Uttered Chaos Press). Her own poems have appeared in Turn, The Timberline Review and The Poeming Pigeon journals and her haiku has appeared in ahundredgourds. She has published a chapbook of her poems, entitled, “Painting the Heart Open.”