A Couple of Handfuls of Feed
William Doreski

A Couple of Handfuls of Feed

On the last day of the year the creak
of birds feeding on corn and seed
sounds unconvincing and mechanical.
You’re up early stroking the cats
back to life, reassuring
the appliances that dozed away
their warranties, sweeping cobwebs
of hibernating spiders that grumble
and relocate to other corners.

I agree that our lives are as dull
as your favorite pruning shears, which
must be sharpened before spring
asserts its priapic splendor.
I agree also that distinctions between
this galaxy and some other one
make arbitrary noises best
ignored by anyone with sense.

Let’s list this year’s broken bones.
Two fingers, a toe, a cheekbone
when you fell on a slippery rock.
Bounty enough for a lifetime.
The woodpeckers resent the bulk
and gangster ethos of turkeys.
Squirrels and a pair of raccoons
dash for dabbles of corn before
the many beaks descend on them.

You admire the texture you shaped
with a couple of handfuls of feed.
Someday all our pictures will fall
to the floor, breaking glass. No one
will hear it, the empty rooms
so deflated sound won’t enter them,
not even the grisly munching
that muffles the notion of speech.

William Doreski

has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His poetry, essays, reviews, and fiction have appeared in various journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A Black River, A Dark Fall.