- A Wolf Eating a Bird, and: June Anne, and: Ctvertek
A Wolf Eating a Bird
Whatever sings belongs to no oneand doesn't need to know where the Dardanelles areor what occurred at Vicksburg, or whowas born on May the firsttwo thousand two.But you are three todayand riding in the little car,and holding up your broken armat the glass edge of our drivewayyou're glancing back at usto wave goodbye.Along the ramparts of your worldabout to make a left turn or a rightyou are more lovely than an antique bookof poetry inscribed from one best friendto another. Through the mouthof the gigantic purple castyou peek one waving finger: and wecan only run, like crazy, after.
June Anne lived on the side of the road,without any plumbing but an outhouse,which we called a poorhouse, on the dirt roadto school, with someone inside looking out. [End Page 85]
Her father, killed by a fire when the gas pumpexploded. Her mother, embittered and thin.When June Anne was told, she fell down; she pumpedher breath and got sick; her sick was watery thin.
The problem of zero was drawn on the board.How do you get from zero to one?The janitor, bent, just rattled his pail. We were boredby that question, knowing the death of someone.
There is no house on the side of the road.The poorhouse has been shoveled clean, and June Anneno longer lives there. Or so I'm told. I hit the roadand never went back. I even struggle to recall her name.
When I could say ctvertek, said the lady who sold flowers,I would be one of them, so I practiced my ctvertek,
my Thursday, and Thursdays I said, to this lady whose mirrorsheld roses and lilies and lived in the room next to mine, ctvertek,
and who, I was told, unraveled a year or so later,went out of her mind, forgot how to say all her ctverteks,
her days of the week, the names of her flowers, forgot how to masterfor instance a Thursday, a ctvertek,
like I did, one day in my life, when I walked through her dooras Mr. Professor, as one who belonged in her garden of flowers, one ctvertek. [End Page 86]
David Keplinger is the author of three books of poetry, most recently The Prayers of Others (New Issues), and a collection of translations from the Danish: World Cut out with Crooked Scissors: The Selected Poetry of Carsten Rene Nielsen. His first book won the 1999 T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2003 he received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.