My brother-in-law wakes to the quiet
anonymous trilling of god knows what.
It is either too late or too early, still dark,
but he and his wife dislike mysteries and so
walk their yard, the twin beams of their flashlights
like rabbit ears triangulated towards insistence,
the opposite of this sound which feels like mist.
Everywhere and nowhere it unsettles them.
I watch their footsteps sink into the ground
in measure to the quick iterative notes that merge
with what’s left of the night. I listen when they listen.
Ladder propped against the edge, Jim steps
onto the shingled mossy roof and finds one
gray tree frog, Hyla versicolor, not as surprised
as he should be. I picture that frog climbing
the hemlock that leans into Jim and Sarah’s house,
spindly branch by spindly branch, lured by whatever
lures a frog, and forgetting to cling to the bark, falls.
But even trapped in a gutter, he plucks out his base line
for another heart as lost as his must be, singing as if
the dawn will never come, not asking to be saved.