blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Everything Is an Instrument

Animals in the dark are approaching the house
in waves they must have worked out. First,
rabbits who wait in the shadow of the one tree.

She watches them from the kitchen. The light
around her falls like cloth. The ground falls away
from the house in back, from the rabbits, then

raccoons, her family’s goats, which her uncles
as boys had named Dad and Sunshine. Holes
in the earth in the morning, wide enough for a fist,

fingers clenched, a starburst of tracks. The dead
speak through the radio and the grocery store clerk
who, in his handling of coin and bill, says:

Go out there and do good, and it seems as if
he is speaking from a long way off, like the words
have come from a river and not his nicked-from-

shaving mouth. Out there men say: she heard
the dead because she wanted to hear them,
and the street lights snapped off after she passed

because they were going to anyway. But listen,
there were also the animals, and no one has said
anything about the animals, the way, after the first

one died, deer came from the woods. It was late.
They gathered on the patio as if there was a party,
taking from the rose and verbena small doses,

and they were heavy with seed which branched
and bubbled inside them like yeast, would grow
heads, then horns. Then there would be others

to also come with coin-clicking tongues, to offer,
then swallow, her only fare home. 

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