“Come all ye faithful,” sang the faithful.
                         “Come off it,” sang the rest.

The first blackbird in months
takes up residence, his rival
a rent-controlled magpie,

Givenchy-blue slash across his wings.
The sun has sunk to a copper dome.
Outside, heavens in collapse;

inside, central heating on the blink,
radiators fizzing and clunking like conspirators.
Here and there under curtains of sleet,

buds mark the bare branches
more in hope than glory,
nubbins awaiting a June wedding.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 41 Number 9, on page 30
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