Catbird Theory

A catbird riffs from “Equinox,” high in the Rose of Sharon.
…….Noon sun like a Cro-Magnon spelunker’s torch
On steroids, I patrol the perimeter for beetles, fungus,
…….blight, and plagues of aphids. I patrol myself
With equal futility. At least the yard has fences. At least
…….the epicenter has left New York, shedding its signs:
Goodbye, trees, I’m gone to Texas, goodbye rose garden,
…….I’m in Florida, goodbye God. 40,000 dead at the end
Of July, but who’s counting? There’s an algorithm
…….for the number of whitefly dancing in this beebalm,
There’s a secret chant in Tibetan that opens Bardo.
…….Let the blind souls ascend. Cleanse the thresholds after.
I’m tired of the saints and their assumptions. I’m beset
…….by gnats and the invasion of the Lone Star tick,
I’m not going to Texas, my mother is dead there
…….in a box on my brother’s mantle, waiting to go home.
I’m staying out of Florida, where I’m kin to no one.
…….That flickering in the sky is not the swinging hammer
Of Allah. I’m getting out of the sun, I’m going down
…….into the deepest chambers where the bison etched
On the wall of my medulla oblongata weeps
…….ocher blood, its back a pincushion of stick-men’s spears.
There is no art like this. No poetry can argue with it,
…….untouchable as it stands, pure image
Made of the same dim neurons that are the firmament
…….of the catbird’s music, dirges for all who pass, broken love.

T.R. Hummer

T.R. Hummer

T.R. Hummer's chapbook, In These States appeared from Jacar Press in 2020. Otherwise, he has published fifteen books of poetry and essays, most recently After the Afterlife (Acre Books, 2018). Former editor-in-chief of The Kenyon Review, of New England Review, and of The Georgia Review, he lives in retirement in Cold Spring, NY, and never goes to meetings.
T.R. Hummer

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Author: T.R. Hummer

T.R. Hummer's chapbook, In These States appeared from Jacar Press in 2020. Otherwise, he has published fifteen books of poetry and essays, most recently After the Afterlife (Acre Books, 2018). Former editor-in-chief of The Kenyon Review, of New England Review, and of The Georgia Review, he lives in retirement in Cold Spring, NY, and never goes to meetings.