Today's poem is by Betsy Sholl

"My goldfinch ...
together we'll look at the world ..."


The way you sit at the feeder, your head cocked,
beaking a seed, I think of Mandelstam
mumbling, working sounds out of their husks.

And that flash, that song made in flight,
that high-pitched muttering—

How fragile genius is,
anxious, always ready to leap from the sill,
always an eye out for the informer. . .

Wings black as tilled earth
folded like hands behind your back.

What did he think, little one, reciting
"the ten thick worms of his fingers," reciting
"scum of chicken-necked bosses"—

reckless as it was, still better
than whispering in the kitchen, hiding
behind the radio's storm?

Every spring you bring him back to my yard
as if you've memorized the address.

And you call, you call
like a phone still ringing in a house
whose occupants have disappeared. . .

Copyright © 2014 Betsy Sholl All rights reserved
from Otherwise Unseeable
University of Wisconsin Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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