Wednesday, June 23, 2010

no more the bird with the piercing voice

The Meaning of a Sappho Fragment
“no more than the bird with the piercing voice”


night is rendered mute
blanketed in storms
of soot, smoke, blood stains

the youngest are always
led away first in no
particular order, maybe
by height; eyes eloquent

shrieks strafe the air
in the beginning but
shortly it is silence
that makes the eardrums
throb and bleed

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


And as easy as saying,
“Pass the salt,”
She says to my son-in-law
About my brother, long
Estranged, “I guess you
Could say he’s a real loser.”

Years fall away
And I picture that little boy
He is curled up on the steps
Head on knees, sobbing

Somebody else beat him up
At recess, called him stupid
Stole his good shoes—again

He is not yet ten years old
But he wants to die, he says
Nobody loves him, he sobs

I do, I tell him, I do

When did I stop telling him,
I wonder—

When did he decide for good
And all, he was a loser

When did I let him go ...
I shudder as I speculate
About how likely it is
those events
are all connected ...