The supernatural quality of this silence —

silence that is not silent,
birdsong stilled —

leads me back to the river to kneel —

hands to head,
hands to heart,
hands to earth

— with my offering of tears to the ocean.
(“I still have a couple more years.”)

Maples are turning,
and redwing flocks follow green down.
Robins and bluebirds trace the salt backward
to where I watch,
eyes closed,
behind the gate that separates wild and will.

And I can’t tell you anymore,
how it is.
I thought it just hurt —
age and unbalance —
but it is more than that
and worse than it was.
So I make this silence a devotion.
They follow. They watch, the birds.
They know I can tell it.
And how.
And to whom.