Today's poem is by Sarah Arvio


All winter I watched the swarms of starlings
swooping in the northern sky like cast nets
or some foreign alphabets flying loose

and returning and rushing out again.
I wanted to live the life I desired,
as we all did, I think, our one desire,

wanting to do what we wanted to do,
sweeping and then spreading and turning back.
A flood of arrows, dare-arrows, daring to hope,

never horizontals or verticals,
not a straight arrow or as the crow flew,
though life, I think, looked daggers at me,

daring me write this letter now to you,
scratching the sky with a row of my words
(those letters sent to him that lives away).

Look me daggers, love, stare me in the eye,
dare me to love you and I'll dare you back.
Darling, I will say, my starling, my crow—

no, not a thrush as the century turned,
though I felt a rush looking at the sky
and all the devastations of desire,

as staggering as ever—startling, true,
or dulled, I think, by the drift of the years
or the drag of the years dragging me back

through the smudges of my alphabets,
cirrus clouds like rags cleaning up the sky
and the vast waste of my wasted desire.

Copyright © 2006 Sarah Arvio All rights reserved
from The Kenyon Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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