Telephone

The sun sets in a muddled bank of cloud,
the evening falling fast on Labor Day.
Five of us around the table:
a Brewer’s blackbird, a jack pine,
a stone, and Emily and me.

We served red berries and a trout,
and when the dishes were all put away
we played that old game of Telephone,
where you whisper a few words
in your neighbor’s ear
and they pass along to theirs
what they believed they heard.

Blackbird, I said,
All I have to lend is meager light.

He landed weightless on the stone,
repeating: Dark or day we rise in eager flight.

The stone, stone-deaf, in a low voice
to the tree: Snow numbs, but see,
on the hillside how it glistens!

And the pine, a metaphysical sort,
passed along: Wind hums, sit with me
and feel her kisses.

The message came to Emily
who turned and touched my face:
But when it comes, she said
the landscape listens.

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