The titmouse comes to the feeder,
the cardinals and the house finch.
There is the mourning dove. She lands
a branch and balances the sway with a lurch
and feather-swell. The ground feeders
industrious find seed, even in snow.
Juncos mostly, and wrens. Small, round birds.
Five steps into a hard way sparrow
you sit the rooftop. Days pile in white drifts.
The flock thins, scattering at the trouble
of thieving squirrels and larger birds. You stay
an even pitch and eye a sunbleached nest—
too exposed, you wait and gather, wait
and gather yourself, grass-weaver. There’s serum
in separation, and a portal. Sleep invisible
below the briar where the dog started
digging. Tuck your beak into a downy shoulder,
one eye bright, a hemisphere
on watch. Tomorrow’s circadian rise
will rouse you tomorrow. Tonight, sock in.
— Jennifer Jantz Estes
Jennifer Jantz Estes grew up on a farm smack in the middle of Kansas and spent many summers learning the art of solitude driving a wheat truck across the Great Plains. She writes and works for Eighth Day Books in Wichita, Kansas, but lives (rather wistful for the prairie) in Canton, Ohio, with her husband, two sons and two dogs.