Today's poem is by Fleda Brown


They're out there rattling their trailers:
the pickers, the carrion birds,
bone cleaners, the shadowy
alley dogs, sniffing
out fish under the trash,
their sharp noses neither
moral nor immoral. Fiber
that moves through the arteries,
cleaning them out. I think
of Wilson, Lloyd George,
Clemenceau, after the Big War,
of the ducks dipping to the bottom
of the shallows, of the Romans after Greece.
Especially I think of the earthworms,
eating eighteen tons of debris
in a year; the ground full
of earthworms going at it,
extruding, making soil,
and of hundred-foot-thick glaciers
scraping it off, and of the sun
carrying off the glaciers,
and of combustion carrying off
the sun, and of death having
no dominion because
of the yearning that is always vast
and mysterious, a secret assignment
of the blood to find what it needs
(items I left by the side
of the road—a rustle, and the rocking chair
gone in a half hour,
the desk in an hour, wind
at the edge of a cliff, things
taken the way the breath
is taken), turning the body
back to before words
began to wound the silence.

Copyright © 2008 Fleda Brown All rights reserved
from the Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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