by Henry Carlile

Not to conform to any other color
is the secret of being colorful.
He shocks us when he flies
like a red verb over the snow.
He sifts through the blue evenings
to his roost.
He is turning purple.
Soon he’ll be black.
In the bar’s dark I think of him.
There are no cardinals here.
Only a woman in a red dress.
“The Cardinal” appears in Henry Carlile’s collection Running Lights by Henry Carlile (Dragon Gate, 1981).

Photo: Wendy Kavener, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This photo was a winner in the 2004 National Wildlife Photo Contest.