Returning Sandhill Cranes Deploy

Returning sandhill cranes deploy,
Trumpeting onto the open marsh.
Our harsh old yard, inert for months,

Nesting finches pair in the willow’s notch,
His feathers like lemons, hers a Persian desert.
Above, the red-tailed hawk intently watches.

Across the world, the convoy crawls along a dirt terrain.
Hawk-eyed soldiers scan the crossroad, caution comrades on.
IED again. Axle parts. Blood-flecked boot.

Our backyard owl softly hoots.
Red-winged blackbirds whistle
“Check, check.”

—Sara Burr, Middleton, WI