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Meghan Sterling


A headfirst dive down a Blue heron’s neck,
vernal pond and it’s gaping mouth, frog croak, threat
of birdwing, the Luna moths draping the screen door,
black flies swallowing air and light in their gathering.

The mockingbird song like a thousand lit matches. And now,
how like the frogs we have become, living life underwater
as we navigate work, as we learn what it is to be parents,
to give utterly, finishing each day ragged as a cast-off skin.

Time is moving faster. We hardly see each other, waves rushing up,
rushing out again, seasons shifting without pause—schedules and pickup,
dinners and bedtime, the waves driving us together and then apart.
Again, the pond swallows the reeds in its spring voluminosity,

the birds have to dive deeper to get at the minnows, the moths bat
at the porch-light in wild attraction, though they knock their heads
on the lamp a thousand times and nothing comes but the singe of wing.
And yet, I admire their ferocity, their love of light stronger than even

their bodies. Tell me we are more like moths than the birds,
who leave their nests to rot in the April rains. Tell me
we can approximate the moths’ stubborn will—moving again
and again towards each other until we’re stunned blind.


Because walking gets you from here to there
and my winter shoes are slick with mud
and stained with salt, I cast them off
for our afternoon walks to watch the birds
come back and fill the trees, apple red cardinals
as they call across the pond, the blue of grosbeaks
that have begun to head back North for their summer,
and soon the enamel sky will wear their soft blue breasts
in its hair. I haven’t finished anything lately
because I love beginnings as much as I love the sun,
its face a reminder that we can start again,
the way the crescent moon blurs into cloud,
hanging naked in the window above countertops
in the afternoon where the painted tiles shine with glazed bees,
because the cups that are just becoming too small
for my daughter’s hands pile flamingo pink and tall as reeds
along the shore of our sink and remind us how fast time is moving,
sun, moon, stars revolving east to west, because the afternoon walks
we take each day invite us back to each other, like spring light,
bluebirds in a line.

➥ Bio