May 26, 2009

David T. Manning

AT THE SPRING

Before she could drink from the garden hose
a cardinal landed on her wrist
and plunged its beak into the clear bubbling.

She froze in scarlet presence
but managed to gentle the nozzle’s flow.
Never so close to a wild thing,

she was soaked but held rock-still
as the redbird clung to her wrist
tilting its head up and down

as it drank, so close she could see
its tiny tongue. There was a song—
whether in her stunned mind

or from a distant bird, she could not tell.
For a moment nothing died and the winds
lost their ways. The hose chirred

softly like a night-thing’s call
and she heard the redbird lisping
as it dipped again and again into the spring.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007

Rattle Logo