The Nests in Winter

Of course the point is to be hidden, isn’t it?

To seem like nothing, to be forgettable,
to hold still. Lonely little things now,
the size of my fist and with a lid of snow.
It surprises me there were so many:
woven sticks, shuttled stalks of weed and grass,
the occasional scrap of blue or clear plastic,
proof of birds working invisibly in the world.
Right beside us. Even now. Even though
we can see right into the earliest light
in the universe. Even now that we can
count the atoms in a needle’s eye.
I assume the nest builders have flown south,
and will be back. I assume they’re not
following me around like a shadow that
will not sing. But I’m willing to
believe anything: that year after year
there arise secret nurseries right in front of us
in the small branches of the apricot trees,
themselves grown from pits strangers on the trail
spat out rather than wait for the trash cans.

Jeff Oaks’ newest chapbook of poems, Shift, was published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2010. His poems have appeared most recently in Bloom, Court Green, and 5 a.m.. A recipient of three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships, he teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh.

*Photo courtesy of mmwm.