I accept the cardinal that comes to the tree
in bright red robes, priest of the backyard,
even empty branches hold its scarlet.
I accept a man I will never touch
only slight brush of lips
like the taste of fragrant spruce
as I walk to the mountain.
I accept the way God pours love into me,
as though lamp were to forget light,
fire forget flame.
MARGARET C. SZUMOWSKI served for several years with the Peace Corps in Zaire and Ethiopia. She now teaches English at Springfield Technical Community College in West Springfield, Massachusetts.