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