David Chorlton

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The goldfinches pass through a hole in time
and perch on the interminable now.
They live with no memory

to pull them back to being flightless
or dull. If they were ever large
it is unknown to them.
They turn their feathered hearts
toward the early sun

and their calls fly away
without them. . .

. . . which is when
the mockingbirds begin
singing to assist
the light in its rising
and the Say’s Phoebe spins
on the trail of a fly.
Bird by bird

the planet awakens.
Even the mountain unlocks its folded wings
to shake away night’s torpor
and in this moment
it weighs less

than a prayer for rain.

Late Afternoon

West to Happy Hour, east
to home. A raven is directing traffic.
It’s impossible

to discern the tone intended
when he calls from above the intersection
and sounds like disaster
laughing at its options.
So many parts could fail: the brakes,

the primary feathers, or a dying
battery. The raven knows
them all, but keeps on

gaining altitude, flying with the flock
of unpaid bills
across the mountain’s crest.

The Miracle

This slow day needs a push
to start it moving, to pry apart the minutes
and make space for thought to turn
into action. There’s too much doubt
in the air. What was that bird?
Why have no coyotes
come down to the street this week?
And why have the words stalled
along their way to the page?
The darkest clouds
burn at the edges, and the bright ones
have hearts of coal.
The winding path remains
unsteady on its feet
but is the only way to reach the pond
upon which wishes float
between the Mallards and Coots.
There’s time for a miracle,
a few lost seconds
breaking free, in which the Earth
gives up a secret, which flies
all the way to the high
distant peaks, starting out a sparrow
and arriving in the snow
as the hawk who wiped the sky clean
with a sweep of his wing.


David Chorlton is a longtime resident of Phoenix and for the past five year has enjoyed being close to a desert mountain park, which has provided more stimulus for writing than he had expected. Since two periods of hospital and rehab, he appreciates being home with the humble company of the local wildlife all the more, and looks forward to uncovering further mysteries.