You could hear a whoosh and flapping of wings
as they flocked in one great clamorous body
to the viburnum outside my kitchen windows
for the last of its fruit, my presence startling them
for only a moment, then wheeling off and back again
to do their work: full-breasted robins in winter
feeding from one suburban way station to the next—
hundreds of them—stripping the branches bare.
Even the cat was aware of them, sitting stock-still
in front of the glass-paneled door, transfixed—
watching the commotion play out a few feet
above her without a sign she considered them prey.
I might have heeded their bacchanal longer were it
not for the deep amber glow of a paperbark maple,
its curling parchment pierced by early morning sunlight
belied by an overnight chill gripping the landscape—
the lawn an expanse of gray-tipped stubble. Having
a sudden presentiment of the seasons’ swift flight—
another year gone and me galloping toward senescence—
I stood there, taking it all in, holding tight to that fiery
incandescence, greedy still for the fugitive aspirations
that beset my youth—half-grasped, in their passing
almost dreamlike: bittersweet as the broken world,
maddening as an elusive fragrance in summer air.
Linda M. Fischer’s poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, the Aurorean, Hotel Amerika, Ibbetson Street, Iodine Poetry Review, Poetry East, Potomac Review, Roanoke Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and elsewhere. She has published two chapbooks: Raccoon Afternoons and Glory (Finishing Line Press).