Month of Revealed Nests

November is the month of revealed nests.
I see them, waist-high in sumacs,
the leafy baskets of the Redwings
that buzz-bombed me when I walked
too near them on the path in June.
Blessings on your departed brood,
winging its small, defended fires south.
And there's that woven pouch, slung
low over the river, only a slim branch
bearing it up. If you want to learn faith,
go stand under an Oriole's nest.

And not only birds: in the highest oak
the disheveled lodge of the squirrel,
tent of leaves pitched on the sky,
ragged as its shiver-tailed builder's
complaint from a bare branch. Most
wonderful of all, the feathery globe
of the wasps, paper heart dangling
from the artery of a twig, Alexandria
where once the slim-waisted scholars
established their library, only to give
their books away to the darkness and cold.

—Thomas R. Smith, River Falls