Here under gray skies the colors fail.
Green has faded, yellow gone, red is only
Litter found where children’s feet played.
Brown, brown survives.
The air bites with icy teeth, bites again.
Trees hold their leaves, brown and thick
Against their chests. Dead grass rustles.
Small chirps, squeaks, then beavers sail
Along the wetlands, busy pulling brown
Branches toward their lodge. A heron steps
Out of the grasses, stabs into the water,
Retrieves a catfish. Minnows streak into
Streams from eddies, a school of gymnastics
As they flip, swirl, dance, tag and run
Toward the river. A river otter slides down
The muddy banks, brown fur coated in
Slippery red-brown clay which washes off
Creating a particulate fog of camouflage,
Nipping and biting their dinner on a water cruise.
Crows chase bard owls, who wish to nap
On shore-bound trees. Smaller birds join
The cacophony of shrieks and cries, always
One step behind the bigger birds. They are there
For the excitement, but not fools. Owl talons
Are sharp, like the cold. Sparrows pull small
Grasses to line nests, which sit abandoned
Until the temperature rises enough for eggs
To warm in the sun, the missing sun.