South Bend uncle, friends, and grandparents,
Vacation haven throughout my youth
Two-week sleepovers or Christmas week,
Thanksgiving four-day weekends,
A quickday cleaning of grandma's house,
Visitation with all our firends,
Nature with my grandfather.
Curtains hung in moth cocoons,
Hatching giant polyphemus and dark red-brown cecropias,
Laying eggs for us to raise.
Monarchs raised and chrysalis hatched,
Covering the house in moth and butterfly beauty.
Racoon raised, a rambunctious ruffian,
Playing, destroying, adorable fun,
Tiny screech owls kept in the basement,
Raise and care for the little one.
On every visit, search for birds,
Upland sandpipers my grandpa's find,
Nesting, wings protecting little ones
Beneath man's wings landing overhead.
A winter showing newfound hybrid duck
On Saint Jo river, swimming calm,
Part merganser, part goldeneye,
Lovely in its mixed-up features.
Christmas birdcounts taken out
To do our job for Audubon
I find I have a knack
For finding things no one's seen before,
Perhaps a birding young child's luck
Or inherent from a birding grandpa
Who found hybrid ducks and nesting sandpipers
That none had seen before.
We'd go for daily walks,
Walks wandering through the backstreet fields
Where I first and lastly saw
Hummingbird moths feeding at flowers,
Quickbeat wings' invisible hummings
Fascinating, remarkable joy to life
In bright sunlight flower fields
now vanished under houses' floors.
Into Michigan to introduce
"The Orchid Lady" to a youthful orchid lover,
Then off to show a norther boggy marsh
Filled with hungry pitcher plants scattered with their blooms
And there, close by the edge,
Wild orchids, hot pink glory,
Frilly sun-touched lips of tiny rose pagonias
Among the dark green moss.