Today's poem is by John Pursley III


A wood thrush hustles leaves from one side to the next, making about
As much noise as a bird can make without using her voice. It's a game
Of chance in the time honored tradition of mealworm & grub, a game

She'll win, given persistence & the long curve of her beak—which cuts
Through all the bureaucratic bullshit of being a bird, the half-forgotten
Myths of punctuality & stasis, the sky-charts, flow-, all the go-betweens

And middlemen, pushing the anachronistic acorn of last year's crop—
Gearing up & gearing up, & getting right to the point, which is, or isn't,
About the food itself, about dignity & its misappropriation &/or glory

Be to God, the food is good. And standing at a window of the kitchen,
Leaning on the counter, where I have placed my mail—my electric bill
And the credit card that I cant pay—where the cigarettes still smolder,

Shimmying up, from an old ashtray (fashioned to look like the woman,
My father says, I'll never meet)—she seems beautiful, & wise, strutting,
As she is, among so many leaves—tossing them up & tossing them up,

The tight wedge of her head, working a line through dirt & dead weed,
My meager attempts at growing grass—an art, not quite confectionary,
Not quite Martha's Vineyard, though the amaryllis has begun to bloom

Along the fencerow, pea-vines & wild roses. And the redbud blossoms
Have given birth to bees, a thrush's voice—the melodious pit-pit-pit-pit,
Rising from the azaleas—a silence, stammering, then rifled with leaves.

Thoreau said once of the wood thrush, whenever a man hears it, he is young.
It is a new world & a free country, & the gates of heaven are not shut against him.

But to my lips, the bread is dry, & I am happier when we do not speak

Of trivialities, all the days whitewashed with what is to come—nothing
But the sun & the motion of our bodies, toweling off or tasting a word
From the morning's paper for a first time, as you are tasting them now,

And I am reminded, it is the unremarkable that will last—the dry rustle
Of leaves & the garbage, I forgot to put out, the last half of a sandwich,
You'll keep offering me, as if I were a child. Take it. It's yours. To keep.

Copyright © 2007 John Pursley III All rights reserved
from A Conventional Weather
New Michigan Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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