standing still

standing still on our long weathered deck
beside chicken roasting on the grill
they appear within the cathedral
of an Osage orange first chickadees
then goldfinch, woodpecker, sparrow
flitting in turn to the feeder 8 feet away
and overhead a fleet of nightjar
like fighter jet versions of swallows
with long razor thin wings they feed
only at the crepuscular hour when the veil
is thinning between darkness and light

the Osage are Native Americans
who once dominated all of Missouri,
Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma

now, here, only their trees are left
hardy twisty drought resistant
once the ubiquitous defense
along every few hundred acres of crops
against another dust bowl

now those are down too for more yield
a few are left in old neighborhoods
like ours carved from a working farm
it sits near a filled-in spring
delighted to have abundance it thrives
and provides good lives for those
who nest among it or like me
rest in its stillness at sunset
content to be with what comes and goes

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and photo 20180719

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