Two Cardinals On a Blue Winter Day
They have been perched on that leafless branch
most of the morning. The hen has been facing
north. She watches for some hint that winter
is ready to recede back beyond the fields.
Yesterday I saw her gather bits of twig beneath
the pines. She is eager to build a new nest,
to fill it with creatures whose small songs
will bring back urges that enjoy the hunt.
The male has faced south all this time. I'm
told his senses are so acute he can close
his eyes and know the instant a gulf wind changes.
He and his kind haven't flown south for years.
They have found ways to survive Nebraska's deep
love for what winter brings to the plains.
There is a secret place in the shelter belt
they claim as home all year round. I do not know
where all their children go. I see young ones
come with them to the feeders most of the summer,
but by October they resume dining alone out here.
By December they return to their mysterious searching.