Next door a cardinal
(a female) is flinging leaves under the photinia
I suppose, like all the women in December,
flinging themselves from store to store,
from kitchen to party and back.
Barely red, the cardinal flutters to the fence
to watch me typing, typing, typing,
then bathes herself in trampoline water.
She flies from the squish of composting leaves
to the sparse pecan branches, dripping grey.
She screeches at me, “Let me out of here!”
Can’t you fly, dear bird? Can’t you pilot yourself away?
“No,” she says. “I’ll never fly more than one mile
from the nest where I was born.”
If I wanted, I could get in my car and be at the coast
by the end of today, or in the mountains
by tomorrow night. The cardinal leaves,
probably to a nearby nest. I am lucky
she came because hope is a busy cardinal
visiting on a dank holiday morning.