Next door a cardinal

(a female) is flinging leaves under the photinia

bush. Nesting,

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.


  1. I guess all of us have our unrealized boundaries–the boundaries we put on ourselves. This little cardinal doesn’t know (or care) that, within a few hours she can be in San Antonio. You and I forget that, if we wanted, we could be in Paris by tomorrow. I wonder what of our self-imposed boundaries God would have us re-evaluate–whether they be physical boundaries or mental, spiritual, or emotional ones.

  2. Oh, I love this, Megan. I love when you write poems, words that sing, that weave pictures, that tell stories upon stories. This is lovely – thank you.

  3. Hope is a busy cardinal….

    Hope is a lot of crazy, unexpected things. This is good, Megan. And what I needed.

  4. i feel a bit sad for the Cardinal – and a hope that I will learn to soar beyond the self-imposed boundaries.
    You write lovely poems Megan.

  5. Love the imagery.

  6. Hope is a busy cardinal. Red! But barely. Is that because she’s a she or because she’s losing hope?

    I wrote a hope poem about a cardinal, too. I like yours better. This is so full of detail. Good. So. Good.

  7. So nice. Even the trampoline water.

  8. I love how your poetry paints such a clear picture for me (It’s really the only poery I get). I especially like the detail of the trampoline water.