The Beating Heart of Love

Up on the hill
against the sunset
I saw some dark ragged thing
–a clump of leaves?–
twirling down from the sky

Before my eyes could adjust
and identify the shape

it broke apart
and two acorn woodpeckers
flew up together.

I replayed the scene in my mind
and understood that what I had taken
for leaves was, in fact,

Two birds joined together and fell,
in a mad twirl,
toward the ground.

At the end,
they might have crashed.

For some animals,
love does end badly.
We have all heard
the cautionary tale
of the black widow.

But these birds did not crash.

They joined together
in a twirling fall toward the earth,
and then they rose up in joy.

May the beating heart of love
give us all
such courage
and such joy.