May not be rare but I’m the bird of Illinois,
Indiana, five other states to boot. I shake
my mottle, stink, flutter, and squeak
an off-key song—a grave noise
like your oldest smoker saying wheat.
You have to have the nose for it, or ear,
the eyes for it, one for each flap of your hat.
It's under there you keep requirements
for houses, for the dolls your daughters plead
for on your holiday—you paint it
red, right? Huff around in green sweaters.
That's how you celebrate your noble dead?
I flash lung blood against the sky instead,
or kindle in the brush, your furious desire.
Bound to a chair I quivered
like the feathers on a wobbly
arrow but stuck
to my story
as a President
will hold a losing war
in his arms like a horrible,
and love it. You said
I was shaking—
nothing would convince
you otherwise, but it was
the nation like a cornered
lunatic shaking all of us.
Copyright c 2012 by Mark Neely. May
not be reproduced without permission.