Sufficient Unto the Day
by Rima Walker
The hemlocks hug each other for warmth.
Their feet in the snow, their branches
entwined by the force of the wind
assaulting the grove.
In eerie daylight, when the storm cloud
pours in over the mountain range,
the birds turn silver where the
weakened sunlight catches their feathers.
When the sky darkens at last,
the flock descends to the grove
and noisily waits out the gale,
impatient, chittering its displeasure.
At last the wind calms and the sun is back;
the flock rises like a cloak flung
around the shoulders of a giant,
black graceful soaring turning,
one entity racing across the sky
to light on the birch branches
on the other side of my land.
In small friendly groups the birds come
to the feeder, take turns on the perches.
Satisfied, they leave for the mountain range.
Twilight comes; it is very still.
A frantic side-to-side motion in the air
tells me a bat is feeding, catch as catch can,
as it heads for its destination.
Where are the other bats?
The birds move as one;
If a fledgling falls behind,
it cries in loneliness.
The lone bat skitters
from insect to insect
and that is sufficient.
Night falls suddenly and its blackness
produces ice chip stars and a sickle moon.
I tuck the afghan around my legs
and ponder the intelligence of the bat.