by Maxwell Redder


Two cardinals and a murder

of crows distinctly chatting

between neighboring branches;

barren minus twisting auburn

vines slunk like somnolent tails,

and an occasional jostling squirrel.

Snow swallows hooves as a deer

herd leaps along my father’s fence.



True, a fence is like an hourglass:

flipped one way to keep in,

once emptied, will keep out

save a proper invitation.

True, the deer’s mass is intimidating

to an unarmed man.

True, the adroit squirrel, with all her nimbleness,

is seminal in flirtation; astonishing

celerity, caught only upon her

empyreal invitation.

True, vines can strangle native trees,

raping forests their elongated

growth; humans do it faster.

True, barren Earth is like a diseased

pubic region, operable

but void of takers.

True, neighbors are the delicate sauce

making an eating experience memorable,

but if soured, attach like leeches

carefully draining pleasure.

True, the crow, with all his august stature,

intimidates crumbling humans.

His mystique exceeds utility, becoming

the definition of contrast against snow.

True, the cardinal is the brightest

entity against the drab, monochromatic

landscape which, like an oozing

multilayered-cake, ascends

from an emanating white foreground

to ecstatic etchings of brush

blending into stern tree masts

splitting like cracked ice

the gray-plagued pallor sky.



Two Cardinals and the murder

of a pubescent seminarian;

never surfacing.  Far in the Church’s

land, by the Father’s fence,

torpor crows observe a moment

between branches lingering

over freshly packed soil,

brushed with snow.

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