Ron Silliman

from Revelator


dog barking emerges from barn
but won’t approach, such boundaries
visible to the mind but
not physical at all, swan
with a broken wing adopts
small town pond, adapts, adept
at avoiding all leashed dogs
as they pass, as we
far less permanent than this
giant oak not toppled, atop
wch lone raven stalks, wind
rendered visible by the trees
two cardinals buffeted in flight
red messengers their floating text
peeps by, I spy, eyes
pie, terns skim over water
predusk glare over the Chesapeake
blue heron solitary, standing still
osprey’s nest looks huge, hum
means mosquito right at ear
rubber soles atop hard wood
screech, scratch, itch, each, two
common terns atop a post
implies a pairing, Jack Russell
terriers under foot but Jasmine
sad-eyed black poodle plays fetch
hard rubber chew toy wet
with success iced tea season
is upon us tall slender
glass but the waiter wears
his baseball cap to accent
Eastern Shore’s southern drawl he
recommends black-eyed pea cakes I
think the chutney’s spiced marmalade
wake to rain’s drainpipe syncopation
to make love at dawn
then drift back to sleep
to rise again still early
enough for breakfast, push window
up for air, Deep Throat’s
an elderly embittered bureaucratic hack
is this week’s Top Story
to do right for wrong
reasons complicates the tale, today
Fox News wldn’t even notice
Language language Allen said Wichita
tape recorder rolling, where Pound
decries Usura white lies lethal
but legal (perhaps) add up
along road to Baghdad Airport
from the Green Zone’s barricades
improvised explosive device home made
goes up rendering hillbilly armor
just so much shrapnel splayed
organs reduced to meat flowering
as consciousness ebbs slow motion
vices become distant instantly echoing
unimaginable in head language language
all the unknown knowables known
not to spark action but
the barn at Wade’s Point
in watercolor behind white rocker
mocks time’s friction Mrs Kemp
buried somewhere by the barn
but with no stone marker
visible through the reeds, dog
from the red barn barks
empty warning not even rising
onto all fours (for force
fill in all fields completely
fasting, blood fills vial, deep
dark rich red almost black
Blank stares, clinic waiting room
time as emulsion, withhold motion
the nurse has her script
before dawn in the night
woods one imagines Ponge one
imagines anything the steady shrill
scrim of the cicadas’ clock’s
second hand ratcheting stiffly around
dog in the distance barks
once then is silent once
is not barking but just
to clear his throat – fridge
groans on, its hum balancing
the insect-laden woods

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