pileated woodpecker pecking a tree trunk
Walking, I hear wing beats 
like oars in an unseen river. 
A pileated, a jay, then three ravens 
wheeling in a circle above me 
before making their way east. 

The oaks shiver, shake off the rain 
caught overnight. 

I step over ghost pipes 
bursting through leaf litter.  
Three years ago, 
a white deer came out of these 
hemlocks to watch me climb
out of a car, just home 
from the ICU. 

I learn that after drought, rain 
is nectar. The thrush, the sparrow 
sing for the joy of it—
even though their nests are spent. 

I learn that omens are everywhere. 

Patricia Thrushart

Patricia Thrushart writes poetry and historical nonfiction. Her fourth and latest book of poems, Inspired By Their Voices: Poems from Underground Railroad Testimonies, was put out by Mammoth Books. Her poems have been published in numerous journals. She is co-editor of the blog and anthology series for North/South Appalachia and co-founder of the group Poets Against Racism USA. In 2021 her work was chosen for an anthology of Ohio Appalachian voices, and for the Women of Appalachia Speaks series.