Roethke Meets Father John Misty

Mike Good

                            I live between the heron and the wren,

                            Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

                                         — “In a Dark Time”

                            Is this the part where I get all I ever wanted?

                                         — “Bored in the USA”

By sunrise, my pockets thin.

By tomorrow I meet the weathered cloth;

I listen for the changing of hands,

an unheeded prophet, a moondrunk grin.

She flies from Virginia to Mendocino.

Over mountains and plains, we flail, we crow.

When did my bones become a voice

I could not recognize? What rain pounds

the heart, and how? I have once known possibility,

my shirt cleanly tucked (a blind choice

of little consequence); a darkening hollow, a stone

skipping across the river. What do I own?

Emails, affirmations; ring, knock.

Morning awash with coarse light, naked

as humidity burns off, as clouds scatter like chalk

dust, the wind a buzzing rumor. The locked

buildings, where children lie in twenty-four-hour

fluorescence. And myself? Myself, myself, myself.

Award me this headlong flowering blight.

The palpitating lung, the tender neck, a squirrel out of burrow,

a groundhog in a mulberry. Rough sloughs

of oil, crumbs, lost coin, crawling from the quiet

hope to emerge straight-backed and determined,

to bring rocks to a river, to skate across water, to grind.


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