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Straw Men- for Patrick and others

Straw Men (for Patrick and others)    

There are scant few of them now, standing
In the rows of my memorably failed crop.

They came dressed as they were.
I always complimented them.

Counting on them to dispel
The crows, the starlings, black eyes

That have circled since before my days
At a miserable piano, black keys

Black notes, black words, scorched screams
From the nest, mothered with a smoking tongue.

My straw men would shoo those winged
Sooty moments, with their stuffed smiles.

But a lost girl, losing time, mind gone
And more birds lined up on the sagging staves

I trusted my straw men to silence my blank-eyed 
Arias of despair, as straw men should, yes?

But fickle winds and wounding skies
Dissembled the men. Sometimes they climbed

Down and walked away, trailing their stuff
As the caws and cackles mocked their shuffled exit.

So many years, and my fields are picked over
One last man barely held his own stiff spine.

His straw swept and scattered by a tantrum storm, a terrible
Fugue of quick black notes, bird song and magpie laughing,

Left me again in my fallow place, face down
Tears feeding the aging soil and spoiled seed. 

Goddamn them all! Damn all the straw men.
Let the black wings come and do their best.

I will sing some semblance of a single bright
Melody, my own, soaring as a scratchy drone
Over a black chorus that is now mine to direct.

Copyright © Michele Rossi | Year Posted 2013


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