Today's poem is by John Kinsella

Echoing Canto of the Gleaners (Inferno)

Galahs and corellas comb the paddocks
after harvest. They concentrate
around field bins, pick at liminal

edges of chaff piles. Here, they scratch
away at mountainsides of air and fiber,
a second winnowing. Collapses aren't rockfalls

or mudslides, avalanches or shifting sands.
What shifts is outside the Euclidean-shapes
shift and separate, some sliding down

around the ankles of birds, some shapes extravasating
into the air and floating out. Beaks and tongues
separate from soul, from body,

what hasn't been re-winnowed and dispersed. Fanning
out, gleaning elsewhere in the stubble, galahs
and corellas protract windrows: they

don't walk paths laid out for harvest, picking
wherever chaos has showered grain, gleaning
against the system, which would pick every ear
          clean if it were perfected.

Copyright © 2009 John Kinsella All rights reserved
from The Manhattan Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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