By Devin Johnston b. 1970 Devin Johnston
A rail, buff-banded rail,
weaves among the legs
of picnickers who loll at ease
on the buttress roots of fig trees.
It queries fallen fruit
with manners so refined
as to be indeterminate,
its herringbone immaculate.
Aloof though underfoot,
the rail extracts a crust
of pie from picnic residue — 
no seediness, no trace
of table-scrap solicitude
for any human hand or face.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2014
 Devin  Johnston


Born in Canton, New York, Devin Johnston grew up in Winston-Salem and received his PhD from the University of Chicago.

Johnston is the author of several collections of poetry, including Sources (2008), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Aversions (2004) and Telepathy (2001). His prose writing includes the critical study Precipitations: Contemporary American Poetry as Occult Practice (2002) and Creaturely and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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