The National Poetry Review
WHY THERE ARE SO MANY BIRDS
for Donna Dakota
Because each is a pulse in the sky, a tiny
bomb of being, a pump of gumption.
Because their dawn song compels the dark
to make room, and they tell the beads in a rosary
of clouds. Because they are clowns,
rollicking in their aerial circus, riding a bevel of air.
There are so many birds because
we need both their iridescence and
their talons. Because of the egg’s perfection.
Because they make lamentation
in moonlight. Poor fool, they sing, Poor fool.
And because we are bound to this earth.
Deep in the soil, the frantic roots tangle,
not embracing, but striving in the heat,
each fiercely loyal to its own particular
stem, determined to wrest each droplet
of tribute for the glorious flower above.
Gardeners too reach and grasp
for beauty, aglow in early morning sun.
Reward enough for the continual grapple
with bugs and fungus and rot. Then it ends.
Burst seedpods, first frost, black stalks.
Come spring, earth rolls toward
hope. After the brutalities of the dead
season, burgeoning and decay begin
again. Nor do we gardeners stay as we were,
but struggle more swiftly each year from seed to sere.
SARAH PROVOST’s poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, Massachusetts Review, Colorado Quarterly, Prairie Schooner and Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. A collection, Inland, Thinking of Waves, was published by Cleveland State University Press. She has been awarded a Massachusetts Council on the Arts grant, a fellowship at Bread Loaf, and residencies at Yaddo and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.