Selections From &Quot;Vertumnal&Quot;

Close call, close call, close call: this early in the morning
The raucous crows' raw caws are ricochets off rock.

Afloat on wire from a dead tree's branch a piece of charred limb
Repeats a finch that perched on it in its last life.

Here under the pergola, loaded with green wistaria,
Misty air wistful with a few late lavender clusters,

Light falling in petal-sized spots across the notebook page
(Falling just now for instance on the phrase Light falling),

And under the feeder where the thumb-sized Calliope hummer
Hovers like a promising word on wings thrumming

To slip her bill-straw past the busy sugar ants
Through the red flower's grill into the sweetened red water,

And over there in your "office" under the lean-to under the crabapple,
Its fruit (like tiny ottomans) rotting sweetly on the branch

(Bouquet of Calvados and fresh tobacco),
Where in the midst of spades and pruners, hatchets, hoes, and shears,

Trowels, dibbles, rakes, and sickles you ground your axes,
Sharpened your wits, filed your notes and journals,

Moving through the garden, through all you made of where you lived--
You catch your ex-son-in-law, taking photos, figs, and notes on notes.

by Stephen Yenser

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