We have peculiar needs. We believe
in beginnings, fresh starts, the low numbers
on the calendar. We love a countdown
and know numbers as facts one by one
discarded. The sloughed skin of our days
sets the future free.

Hunger too is a kind of beginning— desire
with teeth added for the pragmatist.
Breathe on a relief map and it whispers
that direction is chance augmented
by ocean currents, wind patterns, rainfall,
faith in the politics of seed dispersal—
all complicated by the beast that asks why.

Outside my window, crows arrange themselves
around the last wrinkled apple on a new year’s limb.
There’s no need for diligence, hunger has such
an unfailing memory. The core invites the beak
to it. A fading chain of summers lingers there,
an ovoid willingness suspended in a pulp
of old light–seeds as dark about the core
as are the birds black around the apple.

One by one these crows drop into the wind,
in their gullets the seed that passes for life.
The earth gives of its groaning goodness
while we flap away into sharded darkness
full of such meager news: Fruit is more
than fruit. Hunger is not what it seems.
Words are made of edges and hollows
the wind blows through until we hear a song.

From the collection Winter Garden