Nighthawk

“I don’t mean to interrupt,”
he says, “but” —

and then proceeds to detail all my faults
as if I were a car whose tires he longed to kick.

I drink my beer and scratch the dog
and watch the moon in silence
frame itself between my outstretched feet.

Somewhere near a nighthawk barks
its gulping glottal yelp of victory
against the tragic moth

who sought, no doubt, by wing to teach
the hunter her own catalog of flaws.
That is education red and raw.

The dog pants, a rhythmic beat
against the droning human sound
of words. Why, when we

set out to list, do we not rank? Why
the rambling similarity of faults or groups
or even words? If the subject

is worth the bother, why not the predicate?
Ban conjunctions; try
some punctuation there, amigo.

Say a period. Next you’ll drift
into the saga of your own sad faults, and
God forbid your conquests yet again.

“Shut up,” I say. “Have another beer
and listen to the night.”

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Palm Sunday

Snow falls on dirty streets, and this is spring.
One crow hunkers on a white wet branch,
a maple tree naked to the storm,
and this is spring.

The cat sleeps on a hot air register
engulfed in a dream of heat.  A child’s
echo dies within the bitter wind,
and this is spring.

It tasks me, binds me,
death ranging at my back.

Snow falls on empty streets.
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near without brakes.
And this is spring.