Today's poem is by Aaron Krol

The Word

A branch fell on the chicken shed
like you said it would, last night's storm
bearing down on the woodwork where
your family let stand the rot.
So your aunt calls. Makes you find
a way to say No. I'm sorry.

Of course you don't want to go.
Of course you do, and turn up rope
hanging on a peg in the pantry, and a saw
in a white leather holster.
When you take your gear
out to the shed, you're surprised

to see the guinea fowl still clustered
in that seed-smelling box, babbling,
troubling the chicken wire.
Maybe all of them, or maybe some missing.
With no one around, you ask
What have you been up to?—

but they're stupid birds; they don't
have any tricks. In spring
they flock to the woods to lay eggs
you have to chase down and gather
or raccoons will eat them.
Once the branch is hauled away

the planks need hoisting up again,
there's the wire to uncoil and hang.
And the bridge is collapsing in the stream,
the trellis taken over by ivy, solid
and gray, like ivy carved in ornament.
Work all day, if you want it.

You can't hate the place the way
you used to, turning over the stones
in the border fence, one by one,
using only your hatred. So the shade
is what shines out the top,
and the light is what's buried under.

You can't hate the slab of table
propped up by the stove, the outdoor
bench wedged between two rocks:
nothing built to outlast its builder.
You close the shed, and watch
the red sun sinking in the swamp,

the house slowly sinking in mulch
where earwigs and earthworms weigh it.
Sit.awhile and listen. Still the wood thrush, crying
the only word that means the same
no matter when—or how—you say it.

Copyright © 2017 Aaron Krol All rights reserved
from Cimarron Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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