Spring Peepers at Flanders Hill

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I try to record the song
lifting from the pines and birches,

one solitary note—shrill—then three
trill, trill—then twelve or twenty,

all at once like a reunion of women
at a kitchen table: my aunts and grandmothers

with wine in hand & cigarettes bouncing
to the syllables of the names in their stories,

their ash-flick of grief.
Why is dusk so melancholy?

The vesper of tree frogs begins
with or without me. I often sit

and watch the end of the day
turn to a steely grey. Those women

each claim their widowhood. Like the X
on the back of the peeper,

we are all marked
in one way or another;

maybe we carry the sign from birth,
maybe from far away.

Each woman in my family
has buried a husband;

in that line I am the last.
Bits of night begin to unravel,

and slowly cover the sky
as the song swells.

I know when I am gone,
it will only get louder and louder.