like a doe’s hoof tapping ice
till she can drink.
Startles like the rust of purple on this fall’s
forsythia leaves, though it may have used that small voice
every year, unheard.
Blinks like red and blue potatoes,
dug this morning, drying in the sun, testing
their startled untrained eyes.
It’s the unexpected tickle, the fit of shared
laughter in our urgency of touching that becomes
another way of making love. It’s an ocean
beach of pebbles that suddenly
starts singing, each stone its own tink;
together, a glorious indifferent song.
And it’s the voice of each bird I have only heard
as morning chorus landing with its own song
and bright perfect body in my brain.
It is even—now I begin to see them—the subtraction
of birds, taking summer with them, too busy
to announce their leaving.
The poem of the world wants me to wake
in my own body; it is astonished I might let
these supple bones grow brittle.
It is the sudden thing I trust.
Scudder Parker’s work has appeared in The Sun, Vermont Life, Northern Woodlands, Passager, Eclectica Magazine, and elsewhere. His first volume of poetry, Safe as Lightning, was released in 2020 by Rootstock Publications.