Everything holds its breath, or dozes,
loose and languid on thickening grass.
Aspens shudder a little in the wind.
Crickets haven’t woken yet, nor frogs
in green waters of the thin pond.
Silence almost throbs in our ears.
Here in the afternoon, the mountains
are visited by ghost light.
Clouds bulge low in a gray sky.
Figures flicker between the trees
as we look south toward open land.
This is the gathering time, as winter fades
and green grows stronger,
the in-between time, the waiting
that lengthens out toward dusk, preparing
for the moon and stars.
My palms itch, and I can’t sit still.
Ghost light bathes the yard. I hold my breath,
peering out at birds gathered in the laurel
where they hold court in the hour before the singing starts.