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A Death

ISSUE:  Winter 1984

the cheerful birds
still woke me—bands
of crows blaring,

and the darling sparrows
chirping for their lives.
Somebody had died.
Somebody was not out there

in the yellow fields,
trudging and talking.
At the cemetery
a flock of geese flew over,

disturbing everything.
Where could I go
for the moss of silence
grief wanted?

Back home,
night was a blue forest
full of robins.
I tossed and turned,

I left the yard
and went down by the swamp
where the farm ends,
where a bird I don’t know—

a stranger
with long spotted wings—
rose clattering from the cloth
of green water.

That was nights ago,
and still it won’t fly away.
Like an outcast,
like a messenger that can’t rest

until it has been heard,
it just hangs there
shouting over and over
its thick black song.


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