American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Passage · Poetry · Uncategorized

Peter Everwine

As a child running loose,
I said it this way: Bird.
Bird, a startled sound at field’s edge.
the sound my mouth makes, pushing away
      the cold.
So, at the end of this quiet afternoon,
wanting to write the love poems I’ve never
I turn from the shadow in the cottonwood
and say blackbird, as if to you.
There is the blackbird. Black bird, until its
is the darkness of a woman’s hair falling
across my uptunred face.
And I go on speaking into the night.
The oriole, the flicker,
the gold finch.

— Peter Everwine, from “Learning to Speak,” Collecting the Animals (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2000)


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