The very day the rowanberries ripen, thrushes fly in,
stately and speckled, as if summoned there.
They turn the tree to illustration, an autumn square
in an illuminated script, or a sultan’s tree of singing birds.
Acrobats in motley, they swing, making lithe lines
of branches, stretching—somersaulting out to reach
the berries—each red drop held in the beak before
it falls to add to the marble bags of their bellies.
And, just as quickly, by timing only they can tell,
they leave at once to their own applause
to come again and work their stripping circus act
one level at a time, methodical, exact,
until the tree is bare and they have left
another square: a silhouette of winter.
© Maureen Boyle