we step into the day with no illusions—
it is gray, cold and april.
a hawk sweeps the haze with banded wing,
birds sing, the street echoes the chatter of starlings,
the bark of dogs, the redwing’s wulperchee!
the stop sign leans how the plowed snow pushed it.
two chickadees man a bare and brushy elm,
feathers ruffed against the breeze, still and silent,
standing sentry at the intersection.
it’s strange to see them stationary—
with the trees around them singing
why should these two remain grounded?
there is a puckered hole where a bullet rang
the stop sign. Beneath its tilted stem
a balding radial is exposed in the melting snow.
the shoulder is scraped bare and sown with twizzlers,
nesquik bottles, crumpled camel packs and butts.
this is the way out—a cracking street with no lane lines
where village idiots pop their pills, their clutches,
whatever they can—a bleached budweiser slowly turns
over and over across the pavement to the muddied grass,
a plastic sack, a bra pressed flat, damp artifacts
of vice and apathy known since birth; a winter’s worth
of bullshits, to-hell-with-its, i-don’t-give-a-damns.
the birds sing; skin crawls to gooseflesh
as a cold wind rattles the weeds.
04 April 02
*Although written in early April, in Michigan …