I will tell you about the naked oak in our yard and about
my dead robin, June, who couldn’t fly south for winter
and about the Cooper’s hawk that swooped down to eat
the poor thing, pecking first at a dull eye, while close by
two cracked eggs, each the size of a large jelly bean,
lay oozing yolk and about the cold sky pulled thin and
plumed across my low horizon and about Hyena, with
his pail full of silver buckshot, who shouted from across
the avenue, “Wanna lick my lollipop, pancake tits?”
while behind him two fat boys cackled, with Br’er
Rabbit, the older by some years, in Daddy’s pink shirt
and about mother leaving for the City, her thin
lips painted plump, and about my gray lunch
congealing in a tin pan that sat on the top rack of a
cold oven and about the canned peaches she dumped
into a tea cup and placed on a shelf in her
refrigerator. But not yet and not here
Today I have been called to write about bird crap and about why it upsets me so when I find it thickly smeared across my car. It’s not that I have a fancy, immaculately clean automobile I am compelled to overprotect. No. It’s a gray Toyota Yaris I wash and vacuum a few times a year, after which I am pretty well done with the whole business.
But, when I headed out to do some food shopping this afternoon and found the entire front end and windshield of the car covered with the foul, crusty stuff, I nearly lost my own s**t, as they say.
In part, my extreme response has to do with my pride and with my not wanting neighbors and passersby on the road to think I don’t know how to maintain my property—and hence myself. As if anyone pays attention to whether or not I have a clean automobile.
When I really think about my reaction, though, I find I am most deeply disturbed by the fact that we are no match for Mother Nature. Ever. No matter how many times, in this instance, we might try to outsmart her by keeping our cars in garages—or by vacuuming, washing. and polishing them—sooner or later we will all get shat upon. And copiously.
A thin, naked
her lacquered nails down
and up the bedroom
window like a pointless
me we are the same
star stuff the same
sorrow the same
sackcloth of bones
and wails the same
hunger and heat
we hide from
“You know we love you. Right?”
Alone in her bedroom a young mother shouts,
“Don’t pretend you can’t hear me!” and smirks,
those teeth, front-gapped,
those eyes, dark and empty—
on the walnut nightstand sits
a drained bottle of bourbon,
beneath it an oval
burn mark the size of a
child’s scabbed knee.
By the pond a peeper
announces the arrival of
spring, his biology
unhiding a loin-longing
he cannot escape.