Emily K. Michael
Step out onto the lawn at dusk, dog leash
loose like reins in your fingers.
Over the quiet jingle of collar,
cardinal voices cross the yard.
Crisp patterns of two notes clinking
from separate trees, the cardinals stretch
the ee to oo. A line with two
repeats. The near bird calls,
gets an answer some way down the street.
A second response further away,
then back to the first. Touch of
overlap—another grabs on to that next
line. Always in the same key. No body
speeds up, slows down, backs off. All
volumes shaded by geography.