What Remains

by Kathryn Bonnez

Days before the final storm
I spied the weakened nest,
tattered and drenched by weeks
of rain and wind, still cradled
in the blackened tree.
I soon noticed a robin sitting
there with daily regularity
for long stretches of time,
staring at me staring at her
from my front porch perch.
We sat together like that
for days observing each other,
mother of an empty nest
with another of a full one.
Then came the day when rain fell
for twenty-four hours, rivers jumped
their banks, and muddy torrents
swallowed the valleys.
Morning of the clearing, the one
behind my house racing by
like the Niagara, full of debris
from nature and humans,
silt-stink in the humid air.
Later on tv, cars bobbing
in streams, huge chunks of roads
missing and washed out,
homes and business under water,
trees uprooted and toppled.
And mother robin calmly settled
atop her soon-to-be hatchlings;
swivels her black head, flashes
orange beak while surveying
the scene, surviving.

Long Listed Poem 

Poetry Society of Vermont, 2024 The Mountain Troubadour