I hold my faith in my hands.
Steady, they clip the straps that hold
the sweetgum straight against its stake.
Now, it bows only to drop seed to fertile earth.
An ovenbird cocks her tail, watches me
from her canopy perch, close and unimpressed.
I spread my fingers, let thin rawhides fly;
morning will find them bunting for her bed.
Tiny scars cross the backs of my hands,
their fretwork remembers years long buried.
I trace them in the dusk of memory.
I open my palms; gods that never answered
drift through the cracks, ashes on a scant breeze.
Behind me, the ovenbird trundles her nest.
Quiet. The dead are tolling their bells.