Whether the passing hawk is talking about the unquenchability of need, or complaining its short wings unbecoming, or announcing how this time the mouse will stay put to hope it so, it must anticipate early, almost before it launches, or the trees will flash by before it arrives and its perfect gold feet will clutch on nothing.
Announcing the Unspeakable
When the caravel unloaded no one protested the farfetched story of the armored ox horn on its forehead lace horse or the squirrel with furled sails they knew strangeness how a even a single flower could become named and famous but when the captain slandered nature by recounting the notorious strangler fig that transgressed the garden with long and deliberate crimes it was so human as to be too close to home and life and death suddenly intersected like the woman appearing from nowhere handing out funeral lilies at Whole Foods
Winds and the half-winds and half that charted. Heart and the half-hearted notched and noticed. Still it’s precarious to set out from Carthage with just love and a lodestone, wet rope for ballast. If the stutterer sings, it’s smooth sailing. If the whistler sits in the bowsprit, there’s trouble. The sentence will not complete, nor the voyage. Always something more, another noun. Now songbirds find the owl and scold the oaks. Imagine the terror of jaws before the compass, shoals as the premeditated curseworks of heaven.
Allan Peterson is the author of two books: All the Lavish in Common (2005 Juniper Prize) and Anonymous Or (Defined Providence Press) and four chapbooks. Recent print and online appearances include Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, Bellingham Review, Perihelion, Stickman Review, Marlboro Review, and Massachusetts Review. A free downloadable chapbook, Any Given Moment, is available at www.righthandpointing.com.