The trees used to be full of wings
rustling as leaves in a summer storm.
Language chirped from limbs strong
enough to hold murder and flock.
When autumn stripped the echo
from branches, an exodus dimmed
the sun until goodbye ceased its calling.
Now winter beards the forest with snow
and cardinals sit breathing ornaments
decorating barren limbs with crimson.
In this season of waiting brave throats
fill frozen air with music warming faith
spring is gathering feathers to arrive
when ice surrenders to budding.
Susie Clevenger 2014