Roethke Meets Father John Misty
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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