Where Purple Martins Fly

by Judith Grissmer


It is the last night
before seasonal renters arrive.
Sun casts crimson on windows
settles behind black pine.
As I sit on our beach-house steps,
the small colony of feral cats
that live here year-round
lie on the driveway at my feet.

They have kept me company
all hot afternoon as I plant
drought-resistant perennials
along a path lush with rosemary
and red rugosa, twine wisteria
around a pergola’s poles.
Watching as I line their shelters
with fresh straw and hide them
in the stands of bayberry
they know, tomorrow I will go.

But tonight, with stars rising
from a soundless sea, we listen
as wind plays each tree
and shrub a different timbre
rustling juniper, pine—
castanet click of beach olive.

Just above the breeze where
purple martins fly, where
homecomings and good-byes
sleep side by side, a day whispers
its bittersweet psalm, and the small
black and white newcomer
leaps for a green dragonfly.




Category: Poetry