Today's poem is by William Wenthe


I hung a bedsheet on the study window,
         a screen to help me read the screen
of my computer, so awash with sun
         I couldn't see the cursor's arrow.

And while I'm at my desk, the driveway sparrows,
         crazy with mating season, flutter
back and forth from the telephone wire,
         and cast across the sheet their shadows

sharply drawn as Chinese shadow-theater,
         as ritualized, and as serious:
the males droop their wings, affect a pose,
         then give their wings a little shiver;

or squawk and squabble, sidestep down the line,
         fighting off the other males,
to where a female tenses, lifts her tail
         —to fly away, or let him in?

A shade set up for my computer screen
         becomes a screen where shadows play.
So is it love, or knowledge on display;
         which to study—shadow or gleam?

Copyright © 2003 William Wenthe All rights reserved
from Southwest Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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