Thursday, October 31, 2019

Daily Dose

From Vagrants & Accidentals, by Kevin Craft

Wilson’s Warbler
   Part 5

Expelled from the noontide nap
to pick at gnats, all nervous
nonchalance foraging in foliage,
living on a budget of traveler’s luck:
so Alex Wilson came to Philadelphia—
journeyman weaver, silk peddler, sharpshooter—
biased, almost from infancy, by a fondness for birds.
I take his word for it. One summer
camping near the Great Egg Harbor River
our teachers devised a snipe hunt (a.k.a. a wild
goose chase) we fell for wholeheartedly, band of eighth graders
running circles in white sand, mucking through
cedar streams mined with snapper turtles
and broken bottles, our sneakers soaked, ankles stained
with tannins. It was easy to see how little we knew,
how the heart would fool us, the pine woods full
of itself, the buzzsaw of locusts
no locus amoenus hazing the migratory skyline,
each of us already a biography in tatters—
warbler, plover, storm-petrel, snipe.

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