I sing—to what listens—again.
                                        – Wendell Berry (“To What Listens”)


I cannot match the Canyon Wren’s sheer cascade
of octaves through brittle Manzanita, spilling over
granite boulders, each note searching for a home

or the strike, light and crack of a cold summer
thunderstorm in tall pines and damp cedar duff
beyond the fire—middle-of-nowhere—beyond

narrow roads and ‘lectric lights, the burnt scent
of moments mixed off to join the world in a gust.
I yearn for the source, map each in my mind

and like calling cattle to me: sing, awaken
canyons with old vocal chords turned free
and loose, a crackly a cappella of my own.

And they come out of chemise, off mountains
of oak trees, to the familiar, like good friends.
I sing—to what listens—again.


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