When the blackbirds fly to north
women watch from kitchen windows
above their good-meal-cluttered sinks
and know the sun on glossy feathers

tells a story far past soap.
They tuck long skirts above smooth boots,
pin back their straying love-touched hair,
go out to follow the steady flock

to the edge of new March sky. Sometimes
they meet. Sometimes they see no other
faces than their own in rippled
pools where cattails rise to brown—

but always they grow stronger, firmer,
lean with hunger for wild food.
Briars tear the hands that reach
for berries hardened by long snow

as in the air the blackbirds shriek
Fill the baskets of your lives
with danger’s laughter, freedom’s curve,
all we give with wicked wings and beaks.