white tail flicking, eating flowers
heaped on a raw grave,
raises his head to watch us
before he vanishes slowly into the trees.
Outside the kitchen window,
my Peace roses ride on arching stems
like moons in a lead-white sky.
—My? All year, earth holds them,
I ignore them.
Night thickens among the branches
of gingko, maple, willow oak, cherry,
redbud, and the thicket of bamboo
that surround this wooden house.
Sometimes I am afraid.
At three I knelt on the back seat
of my mother’s car and, looking out the window,
said, there’s so much to see
and so little time to see it. Or so I’ve been told.
It’s like that now, watching the leaves.
Bread rises in the oven.
May the stag sink back into the forest.
May the petals drop on the grass.
Whoever you are, may you be at peace
in this great silence, where only the birds speak.
Ann Fisher Wirth’s sixth book of poems is The Bones of Winter Birds (Terrapin Books, 2019) and her fifth is Mississippi, in collaboration with the photographer Maude Schuyler Clay (Wings Press 2018). The third edition of The Ecopoetry Anthology, coedited with Laura-Gray Street, was published recently by Trinity University Press. She is a professor of English and directs the University of Mississippi’s Interdisciplinary Minor in Environmental Studies.