Still as a plant

The tree is empty
save for red berries and full, green leaves,
until you come with a partner one Saturday, early.
Checking out the territory, you dance on its branches:
one inside - then out - 
one inside - then out.
I have questions for you:
     is it nesting time?  
     can this be your new home?
     will the berries be enough?

The tree is empty, 
filled only with hope
as you navigate its branches.
I sit, empty too, still as a plant,
watching you:
afraid to move -
scared you'll fly away.

“Bird in the Tree” Photo by Mary Elyn Bahlert, 2022


I thought the dark skies, the distant thunder, lightening crashing
were outside the screen door.
Inside, I smelled the dust, heavy.      
Like a fly on the screen, I waited for the storm.
I thought the heaviness came from outside,
that it drifted into the house on beads of water in the air, or on a cloud -
     part of the sky, fallen to earth.

Sometimes, here, the air gets heavy.                                                                                                                                   Sometimes the earth smells of itself after a heavy rain.                                                                                                          Then, I lift my head as something inside of me - heavy, old - moves.                                                                                                                  
I am the dark sky.                                                                                                                                             
I am the distant thunder.                                                                                                                    
I am the crashing bolt of light.                                                                                                      
I swing my head into the air                                                                                                         
to rid myself of the storm, a bridle. 

I know the storm.   
I know its edges, lightening-marked. I know its dangers:                                             

the draught of wind, the spiral cloud - 
threatening, the building rage - the sizzling.
I know the calm:  emptiness in the wake of the wind. 
I thought the storm had arrived uninvited:                                                                                     
a stranger, short to stay, not kind, but firm -                                                                                   
a stranger who changed the landscape, forever.                                                                             
I thought the storm had drifted here, mistaken.                                                                                                                                       I imagined it that way.