Advice from the Grackle

the seven songs

After joy raises you into the stratosphere,
ride earth’s colors as you wheel down.

Fear backs you into a cave,
only then do you cackle and hiss.

Curse at a tornado and it might curse back.

Why kick pebbles on your enemy?
You will die without burying him.

The ascent out of despair
must be steady, slow, or your lungs
will explode, your blood boil.

Which is wisest: to endure hunger
or waddle among wolves?

Warn those you love when the predator
approaches. Screech loudest when you
are the predator.

More Poems by Susan Elizabeth Howe