Deep in summer drought, most songbirds have split,
maybe flew north to the lake country.
One skittish cardinal flits about in the shrubs
protecting her nest, but the rest have left.
The pair of catbirds that chirped liltingly
in a halting sequence of whistles and whines
in the dogwoods and pines all through June
became restless after the fourth of July, mewed
menacingly for a few days, then hit the road.
Now a flock of glossy black grackles rules the yard,
iridescent, boorish, raucously chucking and reedie-eeking,
thrashing at the bird feeder, scattering seeds,
splashing wildly in the bird bath, bullying
chickadees, finches, chipmunks, and squirrels.
Yet across the parched yards, ditches, and fields
of tawny straw, march wispy armies of Queen Anne’s Lace,
undaunted by dry heat, nourished on adversity,
swaying delicately, chanting–blessed are the meek for they
shall adorn the mass graves of the human race.
Jerry’s work has appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies. He is currently working on his sixth book, tentatively titled “Lake Redemption.” It will be a collection of stories and poems.