®

Today's poem is by Ronald Wallace

In the Virgin Islands

Sunset: a smattering of rain
on the tent flap; a bananaquit flashes
like a lit match, and vanishes.
And now the night starts up
its grand concatenations: insects
natter at the bug lamp;
tree frogs peep and chortle
as if tickled at their good fortune
to be living so far south, in winter.

This is what travel gives us—
the promise that, no matter
the landscapes of absence,
the absolute zero of silence,
the deaths and exits we must tender,

somewhere pelicans are
roosting in palm fronds,
frigate birds are riding the updrafts,
and someone as dim
as a bananaquit or tree frog
has something important to sing about
and all the warm night to sing it in.



Copyright © 2003 Ronald Wallace All rights reserved
from Long for This World
University of Pittsburgh Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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