Bio Note: In 1976, I moved with my family to Fairbanks, Alaska to teach for a year in the creative writing program at the University of Alaska. I’m still there. I’ve published seven books of poetry, as well as a collection of essays. The Moving Out: Collected Early Poems was published last year by Salmon Poetry. For more information, visit my website (link above).
The Wildness of Wild Animals
Old particles of knowledge, new feats of memory are not the same as what's curled inside this two inch roll of newspaper used last winter to plug a drafty window. When I jiggle the paper frantic shrieks come from the tiny creature. His sharp triangular teeth in rows do not invite 'easy familiarity.' As my gloved hands lift the sash and ease him out, his wings suddenly spread and pass a brownish purple light. Outside he simply drops to the ground. They live among us. Bats. Only yesterday I found a delicate hoop of bones. regurgitated by one of the cats.
Sitting On a Wasp
We're always leaving the summers behind: remember Dickinson, ND, where you spent a whole week once digging bones on the brown plateau? The DC-3 that bounced you out from Minnesota carried Miss North Dakota too. And in the little western town, the mayor and councilmen were waiting at the airport. It was 'an event,' one of the few you've been an incidental part of. Of course they forgot to unload your bags, distracted by Miss North Dakota, who also distracted you from remembering to be sure. It was the way she occupied her body, knowing she was a very special package and had to be handled with care. Remember, they carried a parasol to shield her from the sun, and sun was everywhere. That summer the surface of the earth seemed special too, oil wells plumbed its magic fluids, rattlesnakes like jeweled necklaces slept beneath stones. The wasp was long and thin and black, a sharp machine. Pain made you dance. We're always about to sit on an accident, the sting of chance, which like the suddenness of beauty can only happen once. And once. And once.
©2020 John Morgan
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