See how quickly it has changed—
without people, the sky is clean again,
and all day long, birds clamor and musick.
I’m on my deck in my underwear,
starved for sunlight. A woodpecker drills
at a telephone pole, and two cardinals
dive bomb each other through the privet.
A world empty of people, just uninterrupted grass,
Lawrence wrote a hundred years ago,
and a hare sitting up, ready to bound,
alert and quivering. Nowhere to go,
nothing to do, the monks and nuns sing,
standing in a circle beneath the trees
at Magnolia Grove, Thich Nhat Hanh’s
monastery in Mississippi, and today
I’d like to sit with Sister Boi
and Sister Peace, eat vegetables and tofu,
then wash my bowl in the series of pans—
dirty water, soapy water, rinse water, clear.
Clear like this sky, like the breeze in which
the daylight swims. A robin flies to the maple tree.
Ann Fisher-Wirth‘s sixth book of poems is The Bones of Winter Birds (Terrapin Books, 2019); her fifth, in collaboration with the photographer Maude Schuyler Clay, is Mississippi (Wings Press, 2018). Ann is coeditor with Laura-Gray Street of The Ecopoetry Anthology (Trinity UP, 3rd printing 2020). A senior fellow of the Black Earth Institute, she has had senior Fulbrights to Switzerland and Sweden, and residencies at Djerassi, Hedgebrook, Mesa Refuge, and Camac/France. She teaches and directs the interdisciplinary environmental studies program at the University of Mississippi, and she teaches yoga in Oxford, MS.