Daily Archives: March 26, 2022

The Game Preserve

Revised from 2012.

When some people hear
I’m a poet they expect

that words like
French hummingbirds
will fall from my mouth:
flashing subtleties, gems
suspended on a crimson string
for them to pluck.

I want to say to them,

it’s not going to shimmer like that,
not always, not often.  Sometimes
there are no hummingbirds —
sometimes it’s just
one Worcester robin
doing its drab and wormy job.

Sometimes I’ve got 
a whole game preserve
inside me.  Hosting
a whole wilderness —
apparently that is so important 
it has become my vocation.

If you want to know
what poetry I have in me,
know three things:

one, beyond the
instantly arresting beauties 
I can introduce to you
there will always be some
that are hideous and you will
draw back and some so plain
you will not see them
at first;

two, among the
plain and ugly
will be some that are venomous
and some that will heal —
there will be the same among
the beautiful ones,
of course;

third,
whether peacock or slug,
three-legged dog
or most unexpected unicorn,

understand that I have to live with them
and I am the walls and cages they loathe.  

These aren’t pets.  
They don’t love me.
They all growl, claw, bite.

When people hear I’m a poet and ask to hear more
they need to be prepared for the blood.