Poetry 2013 / Volume 44

In Deference to the Thunderstorm — Ace Boggess

a squirrel drinks from the fountain after rain
wet mouth browned to a hobo’s five-o’clock shadow

he carries no poke on his back not
yet though his journeys will take him aboard

boxcars made from tree limbs gliding through peaceful
country afternoons away from the sickness of highways

coughing & deer trampling backward in retreat all
is stillness where gray absolves the sunlight yes

***

is stillness where gray absolves the sunlight? yes
I sit on a stone bench my eyes

drawn to sudden color from the torn extremities
of wildflowers cadmium bright like match head petals

burning abstractions shot across damp grass so much
violence in the wake & vibrancy so much

peace if one looks to it grayest peace
gray of headstones & the gray of rest

***

gray of headstones & the gray of rest
I think studying the angel on its belly

where it fell away from the rising water
triangular base a marker over such a grave

I expect a name to be written there
but only blankness as if a memorial for

all the earth drowned beneath grinding gears &
drowned by the storm how this laughter fades

***

drowned by the storm how this laughter fades
how bushes bow their battered heads & how

the smell of everything is a broken heart
I listen for songbirds hear only a police

siren miles away blaring its new wave music
that too calls attention to this stillness this

momentary after-ease I want to possess it but
cracks between fingers let the noise back in

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