Today's poem is by Richard Hague

Keeping Watch
in memory of Jim Wayne Miller

This man who sleeps in his clothes
changes in deeper ways,
unshed trousers and shirt the camouflage
under which he transforms
into briers, oak trees, panthers.
His lidded eyes grow powerful,
his thoughts the red
of fresh meat.

At 4 a.m.
he bursts from himself
and hunts the woods
like an owl,
the blood of mice and shrews
brilliant on his lips.

Late for breakfast
at the workshop,
he sits down at table
like a pilgrim or prophet
and speaks over eggs
his strange blessing.

Now he is lost to us, vanished
among tanagers
and weevils, mayfies
and small upland trout.
Gone as the clouds that

scud eastward, far from here,
toward his homeplace.
Now chickadees wear
his best shirt. Now
every gray and hungover dawn
will smell like him
just finished with a smoke.

Copyright © 2017 Richard Hague All rights reserved
from Studied Days
Dos Madres Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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