August Afternoon

Photo by Sara Lomasz Flesch

By  Nancy Schmalz 

Layered leaves and curling tendrils

of purple clematis embrace the trellis

with a solid wall of foliage,

quiet as an empty church.

Invisible within its dense refuge

are clusters of small birds,

birds who could fill a dawn

with song, or a feeder with their fluttering.

Another approaches; the hidden birds,

like passengers on a crowded elevator,

make room for the new arrival

and it, too, blends into the stillness.

Then, with a murmur of collective exhalation

the whole crowd vacates its haven,

leaving only a few dusty feathers

to fall through the silence.

Nancy Schmalz is a musician, gardener, teacher and knitter living in a historic home in Mineral Point with her husband, Peter. Her collection of poetry, “Breath to Music, Air to Sound,” was published in 2017 by Mineral Point’s Little Creek Press.