Women and Bird in The Moonlight
      
(Femmes, oiseau au clair de lune, Joan Miró, 1949)

 

 

Before they touch their torches
       to the rapeseed, the night is clear
                enough to see the black sickle

left by a near-full moon. The woman stands
        in her apron with a pocket of rice, a bird
                in her olive tree. She can’t sleep

through the recent silence. The bird
        swaps limbs, sings. There are no
                night birds in Cataluña. Smoke rises

from the burning fields. There are no whole men
        in the village, orange light muffles the birdsong,
                the Dog Star. She throws the last

of the rice beneath the tree, but the bird is waiting
        for insects driven inland by the fire.