by Robert Farrell
Perchance it utters to someone flying strange for weeks when
spiraling above identification as scavengers they begin to perch in
Texas almost open as if to remind us of a beating vessel the air the
head so ready akin to some purpose near shores around refuse or at
dumps they gather littoral like the high swallow not the Atlantic in
winter but the salt billows maritime beyond their tendency to become
stout and barrel-chested their quintessential squabbling almost wave-like
the wind slate-colored standing at Clamshell Hill in a junction of birch
or summering in the boreal north of the Great Lakes inland a yellow
eye stroking the attention now passing a township a wall our river
without freshet but are rare these visitors and in taxonomy different
by Robert Farrell
The wind returns and then
A stillness opens.
In the leaves among the bushes
The bees are still at it
Despite the hour and through the darkness
I try to count clothespins on the line.
Sheep bleat even in
The twenty-first century
Though the traffic from the Interstate
Would challenge them. At home
We haven’t seen the stars for months.
They can’t compete
With the city’s lights and fare
Worse in battle than the sheep. But here
They’re shocking in their
Brightness. We look out at
Nebulae, the Milky Way that seems
To hang there in its lightness like
Morning fog above the mountains. As if
On cue, a meteor dips its flame
To earth. It’s a bit precious, to be sure.
Tonight, the wild blackberries will await
Another day of rain.
Will grow like hair
While we’re asleep. House,
Walls, economy will shelter
In place. I’m often lost
In patterns of my own or
Others’ invention and soon
As I remember I
Just as quickly forget
The difference between getting
Over loss and coping with it.
There are irreplaceable goods.
Once they’re gone they’re gone
Forever. The shoebill, the passenger
Pigeon, the once common
Giraffe. Less tangible things
We hold our worlds together
Or let them fall.
Tomorrow, when we walk through the high
Grasses into the grove of trees
Beyond the working maples on the hill
We will ask them, again,
To what god or farmer they belong.
Robert Farrell lives and works in the Bronx, New York. His chapbook, Meditations on the Body, was published by Ghostbird Press in 2017 and his poems have appeared in Magma, Posit, The Brooklyn Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, Poetry South, and elsewhere. Originally from Houston, Texas, he's a librarian at Lehman College, CUNY.