the winter wren

This morning I had a long conversation with
a winter wren. I’m not sure what passed
between us, exactly, only that
something did. Something that
left me feeling


		giddy, almost… 

			and definitely delighted.

All afternoon I considered this,
and wondered why such a secretive
little bird would call me out for a chat,
which, clearly, she did, kit-kittering loudly
all around me until, at last,
I called out “hello, Little One,” and
rose to find her in the undergrowth.

She did not startle and fly away
at my approach, but studied me
quite carefully as I spoke. Neither
was she injured, as she crept around under
the rocks and hopped among the
tangled thickets, a worm dangling
from her fine, sharp beak,
chittering all the while.

And now, night has fallen fully,
and the moon peers out
behind the clouds, and I—delighted
     and grateful—am
no closer to knowing
what, exactly, passed between me and
the winter wren.

©stephanie g pepper, 2021


This morning as I sit in my
chair on the porch, my tea
steaming and the
grass wet with dew, the
green garbage truck rumbles onto
the street, brakes screeching in protest.
Its claw-arm stretches from
the side of its great underbelly,
reaching and lifting each gray
container, up and over; emptying.
It makes its way around the circle
of the court, upsetting the calm and
scattering the house finches and robins
convened in the street at the edge
of my yard, raising a flutter of complaint.
It lumbers away, completing its work–
under two minutes, I’m sure–then turns
the corner and is gone, though I hear
faintly its lurching as it works
the next street over.

It’s necessary, I know, this convenience
of suburbia; and the finches soon return
to the feeders I’ve filled with safflower
and sunflower seeds, while chirping at me
their sharp annoyance, with which
I heartily agree.

©stephanie pepper, 2020