By Jonathan Andrew Pérez

WINTER – A Snow Deluge in the Vistas: Bobwhite

Above the Buttes a purple strata of dawn

recedes like ice glaciers, over shadows

of fire. From the mission, birds moan,

bleating during blue maternal hours

Eastern Bobwhite, few white, wow swite,

at impossible snow distances, beckoned.

A falconry of seasons draws from wells

of earth in the parched knowledge of fire.

The sanguine gods, in hysterics, fall

onto scorched earth, swathe an afternoon plane;

a fist scorns the benevolent skies, swollen.

Our eyes meet rainbows through mists of dust—

the passionate betrayal of youth,

and closeness deluded at Earth’s crest.

Alone we lie side-by-side in the cold night,

noticing heaven’s dark dome, rusted.

 

A mythology of snow will blanket

Huddled, jurists, cooing, and lulling,

the earth, lulling the mutinous deserts

and silence to fall among silences,

until isolations no more are disparate,

under the great air-borne parapet.

Down the canyon a faint struggle appears…

Embers of sun losing to a pelting world,

like a tower, unstable, bent with years,

sympathetic, at last, wholly to smoke—

a compromise of invisible lenience

the bobwhite have conferred in unmistakable seances.

SPRING – A Portrait of Little: White Throated Sparrow

 

A White Throated sparrow

That lopped creases of snow

Opens up infinitesimal

Nooks and alleys,

There, East Boston

Blanketed, no smothered,

And the planned drips

Of life from crystal coffins,

Raked the pine needles, clawed

Down eaves, and symphonies,

Across reservoirs of white,

It is a phrase of beauty

Softened by a large stride,

Lumped along a pillow axis.

The awoken largeness

As it shakes the limbs

Of the corner, slides

Weightless off lamps,

These snapshots, the

Italian Deli, the 24-

Hour Laundromat,

The leaping planes

Across the unsaid night,

It feels so familiar

And in its familiarity

Is assumed a like

Massiveness.

 

There, the rain

Rains and wets the brown

Pock-marks, it collects.

The scene is tricked and the clouds think

It has taken place for the White Throat,

a streaked female who eked out

The wooded hall with a grimy dance,

Who watches Nature

As if below creases were Pandas, Africa,

And exotic cloud-soaked forests.

The frozen deluge has passed

from the terrace above as if

graced by her presence.

 

FALL – What if the Sky Falls: European Starlings

 

In the blocks between Starbucks and the Moma,

thirty European starlings congregated

on the plush limbs of a Ginko tree.  

The iridescent sheen off of their oily

bodies was subtle, but worthy of a glance.  

People hustled over to tables to drape

their loose garments, hats, denim jackets,

and faux-John Varvatos leather bags

on the dirty tables.  Iced Caramel Machiattos

sped off the unsure barista’s voice

like hot cakes.  The tree relatively unmoving

shimmered with the birds.  First, one

then another, then fifteen fell dead

in the air onto the hard concrete.

 

“Oh my God, starlings are dropping out

of that tree,” a confidante of the Upper East Side

pearl cult, hoarsely, brought to everyone’s attention.  

No one made a move.  By now the flock

was entirely supine in disparate clumps,

jittering, convulsing, or alive and not laying to rest.

 

“No, no, they are supposed to do that,”

the middle-aged birdwatcher pleaded.

It is dark days, indeed.  The fluctuations

of the bird populations never really seemed

to have bothered anyone before.  

A male red-tailed hawk rested

in a haphazard nest right atop Woody Allen’s

window.  Once in a while a prize warbler

would arrive from the South coast of Florida,

or Tamarindo, Costa Rica like Snoop Dog

and his hordes of groupies

on late night slots of cable television.  

 

And a few who treaded the line between

hardcore east coast ornithologist and simple amateur

scientist walked the long stairs from their cozy

apartments to the wilds of Central Park,

the last open physical space of the city.  

 

But oil birds, plummeting out of the sky

alive playing, is quite another unpretty thing.

 

SUMMER – Burning: Summer Tanager

 

Warmth is a dear friend, a Summer Tanager never changes.

The day after next: I will come back late

after an excursion into the lakes region.

 

The headache has lasted, the sensation

like shards of slicing sunlight against

my forehead.  And the Summer Tanagers, their silhouettes

having filled the watery hole, have changed

direction with fire, flame, fuel.  Even the dragonflies with soft abdomens

have piloted their way to the outer portions

lush with the fold of oxidized shore grass.

 

From the slope before me: summer has reached

its peak, browning the brush-like pine trees,

throwing long looks down the mountain.

 

Somewhere billions of flies are lost

that heave miniature bodies on yards of gates

along the salt-licked sandbar, the heat

quiets their call.

 

Patience, too, is at its peak:

in the slow stretched minutes, before the evening

has blanketed it to a simmering still,  

with no symphony to fill the silence.

 

The galaxies exist.  I recognize the exact altitude

of stars, the orbits that quell the riotous explosions

that spell the cosmos; tomorrow the lakes region

beckons back me off to its setting silence and large

dormancy awaiting the Summer Tanagers.

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