Red cardinal bird sitting on tree branch in winter park

Veined leaves wrinkle and wither
an anarchy of wind moves through them
chills the bare bones of trees
their icy pronged fingers frozen mid-air
trunks of grey spines, stand raw
and blunted, a forest of naked soldiers
blue iron clouds hang low over fields

like the flame of a struck match
a plume of red fire flashes
across the immutable landscape
darts towards woods barren of canopy
male cardinal no longer disguised
his secret revealed in a fortnight

Poem by Lynne Soulagnet

Lynne D. Soulagnet has been published in Adelaide Literary Magazine, The Paterson Review, The Avocet, Better Than Starbucks and others. She lives on Long Island where she remains active in many poetry venues.