Stubborn leaves bristle branches
in a whickering wind; frost

has finished off apples in the grass –
it’s cold enough to light a fire.

From the heart of steely winter silence,
something hard taps on glass.

I check windows, see only winter sky
where black bones of twigs scrape at emptiness.

Kneeling on the floor with kindling and matches,
I rustle newspaper, scrunch it into balls,

hear a papery echo and a volley of raps,
and I’m face to face with the source of the taps:

behind the burner door, piercing my reflection,
two shiny black eyes of a feathered visitation.

Kim M. Russell, 2017


My response to dVerse Poets Pub Tuesday Poetics: Leave the Porch Light On!

Lillian, our host this Tuesday, reminds us that November, December and January are holiday months in many places across the globe, when people visit friends and family, which got her thinking about visits and visitors. 

On this first December Tuesday, Lillian would like us to write a post that includes the word visit or a form of the word in the body of our poems: haiku, tanka, haibun, prose poem, sonnet, limerick, recipe or list poem, letter poem – any form we choose.


44 thoughts on “Tapping

  1. oh yes….winter’s “black bones of twigs”….closed windows that are tapped at by nearby branches, or birds mistakenly thinking they can fly through…and warm cozy fires. But oh my — to wonder about that tapping and then see those piercing eyes within the burner grates. Sometimes racoons come down chimneys…yours is a mysterious feathered visitation. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the images in this: “black bones of twigs scrape at emptiness.” I love this. We once had a bird come down our chimney and just as the fire was beginning to roar, a crow comes flying out of the fireplace! He was scared! We opened all the doors and he flew out. Your visitor sounds rather ominous. I hope it wasn’t a critter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The last time our flue liner was replaced, they secured the bird netting and I’m hoping we won’t have any birds in the burner again. I always leave the door open anyway so that air will circulate but do worry in case one flies down the chimney when I’m out and one of the cats gets it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, always. The last bird in the house was a robin that hopped in through the bathroom window a few months ago. I was concerned that one of the cats would go after it but managed to get it safely outside.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate it when birds get inside the house. They panic and the cats go wild and the dog tramples on everybody. Glad you got it outside safely. What a lovely word is whickering! Sounds very Saxon. Not a word I’ve come across before.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Both sweet and macabre; nice juxtaposition. The two line stanzas work well, like a boy in a man’s cot, it appears bigger than it is. We have a fireplace, but never had a visitor come down it. The chimney’s sealed now, and a gas insert replaces it; prettier & less messy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love all the sounds in here, whickering, taps, scrape, rustle, scrunch, papery echo, and raps. you know that dance where people use broom stomps, car horns and other sounds as the music — this poem feels like that, a song of sounds.

    Liked by 1 person

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