from 'the death of an introduced bird (minor refrain in a winter suburb)'

duration, winter

perhaps slower now, as
the weather gathers
its moment of deepest pre-
occupation: minutes
without human witness, in
which the stiff, shrill air
announces [something
illegible], breaks its silence
on the way to breath. nothing
out there, but the poised
plainness of a bird
in the extremity of the winter
tree: a sparse handful
of bloodless twigs, rendered
bonelike on the reduction
of the sky to whiteout,
a confutation of depth.

it is not a sign. it is reading us,
perched in our own bare
rafter, branched across
the snow-walled distance. a
window, where we might grasp
as feedback, something of its
listening, opens in this air, too mineral
for lungs. but the bird
keeps its silence in the poem. snow-
framed against the sky’s
cyanotype, sketchy, rendered
insubstantial, in the light’s weak
fixative, more or less distracted
in its task of throwing an outside into
relief, against what immediate
shelter, a tenuous trellis
of shadow, woven
from listening to the snow’s
whisper: how the word roof is
almost an aperture. as the closeness
tightens. as the silence.