SELF-PORTRAIT AS MY BACKYARD (in the time of coronavirus)

by Lenny Lianne

The silver-toned bird serenades
without worrying whether
anyone’s there to hear it or not.

A head-plumed quail paces
the way a pharaoh, musing
over his mortality, might

while gazing on the concave
cup of a fallen bougainvillea
petal — or perhaps the quail,

recollecting the harsh dactyl
of its call, merely wishes
for a more uplifting sound.

Later a lone coyote climbs
onto the stucco wall in search
of something small to chew on.

The coyote looks well-fed,
probably due to its adeptness
in pursuing what’s on hand,

while the pool’s large, flat eye
gathers and gives back,
sort of like breath itself,

as it stares at an expanse of sky
and waits the time it takes
for the light to arrive.

Lenny Lianne, finalist in the 2021 Steve Kowit Poetry Prize, is the author of four books of poetry, most recently THE ABCs OF MEMORY (reissued by Unicorn Bay Press). Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Inlandia, Poet Lore, Four Chambers and others. She holds a MFA in Poetry from George Mason University and has taught various poetry workshops on both coasts. She lives in Peoria, AZ with her husband and their dog.