• John Muro

Oriole

by John Muro


Out towards the lower fields in early morning

Light, mist hovering over the land like a medieval

Shroud, and the hardened, wheel-worn tracks

Take me past porcelain berry, wild radish and

An orchard long abandoned to chest-high grasses,

Sumac and jewelweed. The fatigued arms of

Apple trees are bent, swaddling shriveled fruit,

Calling to mind the burdens that can buckle

And pull down a life, when wind shuffles the

Shoulders of the tree-line and a sudden, bright

Gash of orange – a candle-wick flushed

To flame – is set adrift in autumn air. The

Beautiful body of bird offers a psalm of

Fluid lament, a mellifluous, near-whistle

Exquisitely delivered like an intercession

Deserving of both earth’s and heaven’s ear,

Seeking solace within this forgotten plot

Of land on such a day when life remains

Half-hidden and groans forth, and I, too,

With a heart contracted, look beyond the

Bird to give thanks for such small splendors

In a world so badly broken where hope, long

Ransomed, returns to us in the form of a wind-

Borne ember and the simpler miracle of song.

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