The July before I died
began stubbornly unseasonable,
June had been mostly grey and rainy.
June could be that way sometimes,
It’s possible, then,
that in my desperate longing for sunshine —
for a warm, illuminated beacon
in the dark homestretch of my mortality —
I might have summoned the Goldfinch,
like a magnetic field
unable to distinguish bird from our nearest star.
Through our French door window,
from my daytime habitat —
arm’s-reach books & screens,
remote control & water bottle —
there appeared a blur
of brilliant primary yellow,
the yellowest of yellows,
in flight against the backdrop
of lush green forest,
then coming to a landing,
bobbing on a thin branch
of a young aspen.
Over days that follow,
this breeding male,
ready as he is to implant new life,
his plumage at its brightest,
like a sliver shaved off the sun,
even when that ball of fire in the sky
is obscured by clouds.
This is the Goldfinch’s aspen.
I see no other birds visit.
Except, one day I spy him,
showing off for his drab-feathered mate.
They dance their carnal dance —
the sun waltzing with a cloud.
The male will then molt away his spring wardrobe,
and in September,
as I embark on my last journey,
the aspen’s leaves will turn goldfinch-yellow,
before browning and floating away on a breeze.