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Novelette

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With her one horrid eye persistently unfastened, a vigilant bird
watched my grandfather during the Great Depression
use each evening of one whole year to wander his corn fields
knowing this world is just one pig after another

in one pen after another. Therefore, the bird heard him suppose,
shouldn’t he with his best gun, machete, Buick, or rope
terminate his acquaintance with the tiresome setup
of breakfast-lunch-dinner-dawn-dusk-fall-winter-spring-summer-

blah-blah-blah? But his girls were good-looking
and made such fine pies, so the bird watched him live wretchedly
until he died more naturally of cancer
too soon to see his people become the dopefiends, doctor-haters,

masturbators, insomniacs, sleep fanatics, shut-ins, and teetotalers
the bird knew they would become, for the purpose of girls
is to just ruin everything with wanton reproduction
so that now now now it’s really relentless—how heavy

his people got in their limbs and how torrential, thus,
the frenzied wind, though beyond the eye of the bird
is the small, ashen brain of the bird, and below that, a heart,
I swear, through which come the iffy notes of this cruel song.


Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the October 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

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Novelette

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