Poem for June 25

June 25, 2012 § Leave a comment


Meth labs dot the countryside,
our cottage industry, lives junked
like abandoned cars bleeding rust
in the fallow fields and blind
as he still is Teiresias sees
what can’t be seen, predicts
what we don’t want to know.

What can you do? You try for balance
but out on the interstate you’re not much
different from the guy in a red
Toyota four-runner who pumped six bullets
into a pickup truck
after it cut him off. Vigilante, you
watch for the dangerous ones, see them
in the rear view heading toward you
darting in and out of traffic. You box
them in, won’t let them pass.

You want to keen, the highest whine,
the sorriest lament. On the best days,
the days when you pretend none of this
is your fault, you hold hold your hand out
and the red-headed song bird
alights on your finger,
its tiny webbed claws so delicate
you’re touched by something from another world
and for a second you forget the scientist
will dissect its brain to trace the route of song.

-Maxine Scates, Undone (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2011).

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