I Swear

Along the river,
great white pelicans glide in the air
hundreds of them forming and reforming
into ribbons and tornadoes, gleaming pearls
They land in the shallows of the Mississippi
and form fishing nets
and close in and feast on fleeing minnows
and a band plays jazz I swear
The peregrine falcons at Blue Pool
have mated and are nesting
god help the owl or hawk which stalks the nest
peregrines the smallest predators
are the fiercest parents
The nature photographers at Blue Pool
line the highway
point their long lenses at the falcons
the fashionable falcons pose
Crocuses bloom butter yellow
and trees are budding
you can hear them pop I swear
wild onions sway in abundance and radiate scent
the spongy soil smells of rain
the air smells of fecundity and birth and sex
Tonight I hear a barred owl sing from the back woods
I walk outside to listen more clearly
the owl is the soloist
the chorus on a winter night in February
are spring peepers
a million of them I swear
I think of all the sleepers in houses around me
missing the miracle of peepers the rhythm the pitch
the owl hears and responds with recitative
This libretto I swear
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