Outside the morning kitchen
a flock of golden finches
gathers in the honeysuckle.
In a week or two they'll be gone,
leaving the oblivious flowers
to the ruby-throated hummingbirds.

I never dreamed it could be like this:
red-tailed and yellow-breasted birds,
a touch of hands, a kiss on the neck,
a world beyond the blacks and grays
of common crows and drab sparows,
beyond the cold efficiency
of too-busy parents.

Moon follows sun west past kitchen sink,
over branches of purple-leafed plum,
above the skylight in the hall,
and past my daughter's bedroom window.

I watch the days go by and wonder
how long before the finch will migrate,
how long the flowers will afflict my nose,
how long this gaudy spring will last,
how long this child will lie across my lap.


I like being able to write big numbers.
The decades of my father's life.
The metal of my anniversary.
The ages of my children
(now twice my own mental age).

There is something pleasing
about the big numbers.
Even the years I've had this mole,
this wart, this pain.
As opposed to the meager number
of days I carried that baby.
Or the fewer than fingers and toes
of my sister's life.

Image of the book Natural Selections by Elaine Mintzer

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