A jay on the fence preaches to a
squirrel. I watch the squirrel quiver,
the way squirrels do – its whole
body flickers. I’m not sure why this
reminds me of when I was five and
something died in our drain spout.
Feather or fur, I watched my father
dig it out, knowing (as a child knows)
how much life matters. I have seen how
easily autumn shakes the yellow leaves,
how winter razes the shoals of heaven.
I have felt love’s thunder and moan, and
had my night on the wild river. I have
heard the cancer diagnosis with my name
in it. I know what mercy is and isn’t.
Morning breaks from sparrows’ wings
(life’s breezy business), and I’m still here,
still in love with the sorrows, the joys –
days like this, measured by memory, the
ticking crickets, the pulse in my wrist.
On this day in...
2011: Weekend, no poem
2010: "Drowning Ghazals" by Denver Butson
2009: "Theory of Lost Things" by Keetje Kuipers
2008: "The arsonist stood up in court and said..." by Jeffrey McDaniel
2007: "the lesson of the moth" by Don Marquis
I am not an arsonist. I dreamt/the building was a phoenix/and needed my help.