cento of sorts

those mammals: a cento or sorts
dancing feet paws or stout raked hooves
blush and split for us as revival, as revealed
must crawl or be propelled or be brushed to their
seeming sleeping struck squash stuck poise to the side of the road
where a long time ago we had to grieve for them:
weep for them: pity them
but now my strange human duty makes me keep going even if I know I swiped right down the middle of the white stripe from head to tail of a greedy badger hovering at the perforated median–its two halves creeping each to its opposite sides to lie flat fur first to
the proximity of sky
the violence of spring
the lilac’s knowledge
where the deer lives and dies whining
and finally in silent prayerful fetal pose at the edge
while only birds near escape collision except for the occasional wild fowl foraging in twilight at the edge of a pasture of heifers facing some rural route, or the corpulent crow that won’t leave the fresh meat to the hawk on its way back to disembowel the hen it scored in the first place
and it doesn’t screech the broke-glass catastrophes of voice the starlings have
as it back flips upon impact onto the strip of fresh asphalt
its bloody blue-black plume detaching onto the edge of my driver’s side windshield.
“A cento of sorts.” Lines from Jake Adam York “Small Birds of Sound” Murmuration of Starlings; Bertha Rogers “IV. March,” Even The Hemlock; Marilyn Hacker “Letter on June 15″ from Winter Numbers; Eavan Boland, “Elegy for My Mother in Which She Barely Appears;” Cheryl Clarke, “Jazz poem for Morristown NJ;” Harmony Holiday, “Motown Philly Back Again;” Gerald Stern, “Writing Like a Jew.”


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