Weather-worn and woven
from threads of hay, meadow
grass and sprays of phlox,
the bedraggled nest had
once been bound by dollops
of mud and a lattice-work
of lichen. And yet, here it
lies, death’s trinket, tucked
beneath beds of bleeding
hearts like a hollow urn,
broken and unfixable and
inching towards sediment,
having once housed, behind
the soft lift and fall of leaves,
songs that perhaps washed
like rain water into the open
wound that expands between
the heartbeats of those who
stood, near dusk, and took in
the palpable grace before it, too,
fell back to garden like a life lost
during the sun’s soft absence.

John is a two-time Pushcart Prize as well as a Best of the Net nominee. He has authored two books — In the Lilac Hour and Pastoral Suite — in 2020 and 2022, respectively. John’s poems have appeared in such journals as Acumen, Barnstorm, Grey Sparrow, Sky Island and the Valparaiso Review.