Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2019  Vol. 18 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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October is a Fine and Dangerous Season in America
after Thomas Merton

This morning’s fog is ghoulish and a procession
of austere goats eat the heart
of the park across the street from my apartment.

It’s a work-trade with some farm
just out of the city. I say howdy to the man running
the operation, his body molded

in the sinking lawn chair that holds
his body as he drinks
his thermos like a man who believes in coffee.

I hear waterthrush,
their throats warbling from the ribs
of a pink kite buried

in the unearthed roots of a tree
hanging out
over the edges of Scull Creek.

A squirrel darts.
Overcoming her own body,
she carries the whole of an apple

back to wherever she banks.
Her stomach remembering last winter
the way mud remembers

the sole of a boot.
The moon is a Maglite
fooled into hunting snipe

and houses line rows of the city-
grid like a train
run off-track—all tremble

and steam, tremble
and steam. The chimney stacks
have set to flight what,

for a little warmth,
our lives set on fire.  

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