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Today's poem is by John Poch

The Veery

I.
I have predicted the end of spring for the fifth time,
and here are the low clouds scudding in cold
from the north again, dissolving at the edges
while reassembling themselves from within.
Like memory in old age, they are not the shape
of anything. They ride—these thoughts
of little consequence, these little rebellions—
a lavish blue heaven of all knowledge.
The meadow shadows come toward me
like a cash register opening. Cold cash.
The clouds do not want to disappear.
This middle ground of insistent mystery reads,
like Braille, the real world of scattered buttercups
shuffling through the green. I am so close.
A dragonfly alights, pulses, fat on mosquitoes,
tips over his stalk, happy the cold has slowed
his dying. Spring is dying, stubbornly.

II.
Last night, a woman read aloud her story of another woman,
sorrowful, having to make due with her quixotic,
faithless man. It swooned in the telling half the time.
She was enraptured in her pages and couldnít know,
caught up in her voice that seemed to come
from outside herself far away—a spotlight or two
through smoke—baptizing her. You could be happy
for her, yet lost enough to fall away toward
the real room, watching the pretty secret of two painters
told in a shared smile, his hand absently moving
over the back of his own neck, her toes arching
to the remembered pleasure of their afternoon.
Others sighed as if imagining their own tombstones.
But then, a veery began her singing from deep
in the woods beyond the screened-in porch.
I thought, God, spring has overflowed into summer.
What do you want from me, a gossip, a liar
taking the hand of truth? With the music
of the veery that seemed like a thin syrup poured
into the birdís thin flute throat rather than out,
like some video-game-pretend-end, He said,
You couldnít bear it if you knew the end.
Then the story was over and we all clapped.
I started home alone saying, I will try to bear it
anyway
, and the veery began again
from some different place; hidden high
in the last shadows, she seemed to follow me.
Such fidelity, I thought summer had come.



Copyright © 2002 John Poch All rights reserved
from Hiram Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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