She sets out with her backpack,
her lunch, and a book—
a birthday present,
with silhouettes
of thirty-five songbirds
and thirty-two shore birds,
including the great cormorant.

But listing to the birds,
she forgets the book and the birthday—
and remembers her voice-teacher
and his theory that
most people can’t sing
because they’ve been taught
not to scream.

But at the central tendon of her diaphragm,
a tiny frond begins to unfurl—
white now,
like this morning’s haze
over the sea and the woods.
But its greening will pierce
The membrane of civility.