The Red-Winged Blackbird choir
atop the Hackberry trees
sings its last chorus
and flies off for the night
to some warmer,
more protected place,
I hope.
Snow has flown off and on
all day, covering the land
with white
and muffling sound.

But there isn’t any
after Red-Tailed Hawk’s
final waning scream
and a last, single chirp
from a bird somewhere close.
A Cottontail sits in the snow,
dashes under an evergreen.
Great Blue Heron flaps across
the gray sky, soundlessly.
The air is still.
I stand unmoving,
listening to the quiet,
taking in the gray cold,
taking in the sound of nothing
as long as I can,
as deeply as I can. And when
the cold is too close,
my first footprint
crunches the snow.