After Before

mantis

After Before

A return to that
time when silence

reigned. The neighbor’s
guinea fowl have long

departed, but three cedars
drop needles in the driveway

even as reluctant growth
pushes out from the oaks’

limbs. Nothing circles
below the clouds, no

roosters crow. Feeders
hang still and empty.

The wrens remain
cloistered. You read

these events as separate
birdless chapters, all

hushed in the dappled
air, passages carried

yet confined by nearly
soundless threads

suspended from the
persimmon tree. You admit

a status as sentient
protein, one meal among

many, while you rest
and absorb

the soft ticking
of eighteen eager

juvenile mantises
on the porch screen.

feeder

“After Before” first appeared here in December 2015.

5 thoughts on “After Before

  1. I seem to be reading this (first time) after it was posted before …
    Intriguing to think of silence afforded by shifts in neighbor populations (in my neighborhood, once predominantly families with noisy kids outdoors filling the air with sounds – now mostly quiet except for squirrel and bird calls, and occasional barks from canines calling across fences to one another. And indeed there stands a persimmon tree, survivor of past sound effects to stand quietly, dignified. If I have a mantis population, they’re keeping themselves hidden … for sure would not be out in today’s chilly wind. This poem entices me out, to stand, listen, notice my own breath.

    Like

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