Prescient wind anticipating the ice, leaves its handprint on the
obsequious water which obediently freezes in place.
Naysayers of the cold, a fistful of chickadees tossed into the bramble, will not
deign to my plans; instead they demand I get busy feeding them.
Priding themselves on their size and intelligence, five crows
obey the call, and though hardly a murder, all the other birds scatter
nonetheless. Food is scarce, and the bitter cold continues; the run-off is frozen.
Digging deep beneath dead grass some tiny creature scratches for warm, sustenance food.
Projectors of the weather say big snow tonight, the first this winter.
Oleographic flurries overnight have distressed the tops of most branches.
Nothing nuanced about the pond this morning; it is evenly coated perfection,
dusted and nestled in, surrounded by weathered reed-grass, bent, broken, and waiting.
Panoply of birdsongs – titmouse, chickadee, cardinal, jay, nuthatch, and
outward from the feeders, somewhere in the woods, a red-shouldered hawk is
naming the world with two syllables — keee-aaah; the morning is
deep-rooted shadows, and the bump-bump of a red-belly in the cedar.
Picking the boardwalk instead of the pond this morning,
onward through the woods, the ground a mosaic of leaves
necessary for the crosshatch of broken branches to fall silently;
dim in the overcast, the cedar is possessed by bittersweet.
John L. Stanizzi is author of the collections – Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, Four Bits, and Chants. His newest collection, Sundowning, will be out this year with Main Street Rag. John’s poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, Blue Mountain Review, The Cortland Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, Rust & Moth, Connecticut River Review, Hawk & Handsaw, and many others. His work has been translated into Italian and appeared in many journals in Italy. His translator is Angela D’Ambra. John has read and venues all over New England, including the Mystic Arts Café, the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, Hartford Stage, and many others. For many years, John coordinated the Fresh Voices Poetry Competition for Young Poets at Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, CT. He is also a teaching artist for the national recitation contest, Poetry Out Loud. A former New England Poet of the Year, John teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT and he lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry.