Two chickadees and a white-breasted nuthatch flit about in the bare branches of the maples in the back yard, while slate grey juncos hop across the crusted surface of snow below.
All three species wear grey cloaks year round, but only juncos keep their hoods up; chickadees and nuthatches sport black berets instead.
The nuthatch smooths her beret back toward her shoulders, while the chickadee pushes his cap down low on his forehead.
Only the chickadee dons a black bib to offset his white throat; only the chickadee shows pale burnt-orange flanks which reflect the tiny fire that burns within his breast.
All three species blend well with the winter landscape: a palette of grey and black and white infused with hints of sienna.
As cancer, that insidious conniving guest,
Silently invades the body,
Making no pretense in devouring its host,
It focuses the mind.
From morning’s waking moment,
In lieu of schedules and daily schemes—
Early aerobics, a suitable outfit,
Slipstreaming down the interstate,
Lunch, enjoying a chapter in early afternoon,
Home for dinner, an evening walk, bed—
She now hears the clear notes of chickadees.
Morning light unfolds, revealing
Ruby red carnations potted by the backyard fence.
The bedroom fan cools her sallow skin.
Ultimately, such moments are all she has—
Has it always been thus?—
Just so, just enough.
Copyright 2012 © Brian T. Maurer