Produced by Dennis Camire

This week’s poem is by former Portsmouth Poet Laureate John-Michael Albert.

 

Birdseed on the Snow

By John-Michael Albert

 

Like the rime of salt left by the vapors

of a shrinking lake; like a guest too quick

to depart, trailing traces of himself

 

so others might puzzle out who he was,

this snowdrift melts, freezes, and melts again,

moving its hidden burden to its surface.

 

Inside this drift, half-eaten layers of birdseed —

newly sown after each snowstorm, after

repeated shoveling and plowings — heave

 

their way to the top, a feast for the fists-

full of feathers who shelter from the wind

in the twiggy hedge nearby. Come spring

 

it will all be washed away. The dust, the leaves,

and the tiny golden husks will all flush

down the granite gutter. At this moment

 

though, we chant Hail Mary for these aves,

serve them in strata stacked one on the other,

with a layer of snow to separate each,

 

until the April ram’s sweet showers.

 

Dennis Camire can be reached at [email protected]


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