The birds begin to think in pairs
as these old hills begin to breathe
soft green from crusty brown.

Two young blackbirds inspect
last year’s redwood limbs
to house the colony, safe-haven

from crows and ravens, easy
to defend. Two by two, the quail
titter down garden trails

too cold to plant. The crimson
chests of finches gleam before
drab ladies on the railing

when not picking at
old nests in the roof beams,
half-heartedly. Too early yet

for songs of love and making
babies when these old hills
have just begun to breathe.


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