There’s a quiet circling of turkey
vultures hushed by songs
of mockingbird & cardinal. We stop

to listen to a finch, walk deeper
into the glade, chatter
while red trees creak in the rolling

wind. We read about threatened
species. Only in this shallow
soil & on this fragile

bedrock, grow buttonweed
& meadow garlic. Prairie
clover, scorpion

weed & the endangered
coneflower. I ask about his largest
tattoo, a dragon big

as a fawn that wraps
around him—chest
to back. He divulges,

“My brother OD’d. I was numb,
but I could feel the blue
ink needle.” He drives me home

in his cargo van, radio
blaring BB King. At home
I research finches & find out

the male sings often
during courtship—excitedly
& continuously. While the female

dances he puffs his feathers
like a shirtless Mick
Jagger. If she accepts

she’ll sleep next to him, nest
build & coo. Male & female
are known to sing

the same song — but only
while in flight & only
during spring

mating. At midnight my cell
phone buzzes & it’s him. We flirt
until first light.