Daniel Bourne: “At a Rest Stop Near Lake Erie”


The birds suspended in the trees, up and down, not
like musical notes, since they themselves are playing,

but up and down nonetheless, the kohl-eyed kinglet
a nervous actor in the cottonwood’s first green bursts

along the Crane Creek boardwalk, the vast migrations
of birders and their multi-colored license plates

settled in for a morning of dog-eared field guides
with cracked spines, spotting scopes trained on the brown-brocade

back of a chuck-will’s widow strayed so far off course
it will never make it back. But sometimes no one

can get to there from here. As if our own hard skin
could bloom in feathers. Our callused throats burst to song.

Daniel Bourne’s books include The Household Gods (Cleveland State) and Where No One Spoke the Language (CustomWords). His poems have also been in such journals as Field, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Conduit, Boulevard, Guernica, Salmagundi, Pleiades, Yale Review, Shenandoah, New Letters, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, Plume, Many Mountains Moving, and North American Review.

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