All winter long I can hear the cries of birds in the thatch.
They come down from the north to hide
in eves, wind forgotten, the lake looming out
of memory and their bones beating with blood.
Where is the one who will hold birds in his hands
for me? While on earth I sing and practice Advent
I look for the face in the rafters. Drifting to me
little pieces of hay, flecks of peat ash promise something:
maybe it is spring.
I hold with waiting. I hold with hands
that are larger than mine, spanning the shores
of the great Lakes. I hold with the white snow pushing back
the sky and the empty hours between houses.
Fill up the rooms with singing alone, I say. Who knows
what will thaw in six months. Make the song
and eat it yourself. Thus live the birds in the thatch, wrens.
If I dream in the smoke-draped room I dream
a little boy to dance under a cape of straw
wings built full of air, scuff of a foot at the door.
(I am never afraid to open—)