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the white boat 81
But words don't crowd in now, the way
They did last week for me --
Gave them some shoves and there they lay
Fitted like tesserae.
Silence. I probe with a broomstraw
Inside a lampshade pleat
An odd shadow I just saw:
An earwig lands on his feet.
Oily and slim, he trots along
My desktop, hunting a crack;
I place him where earwigs belong,
Between two bricks out back.
More silence. I get up and gaze
At the woodpile and pine tree
Thinking of certain sunny days
And wishing I might see
The big Fox Sparrow, say -- the one
Last year who came and went,
His sides and back rainy-earth brown
And a magnifi cent
Central chest spot, irregular
And bold -- as for his song,
He was a rich, clear whistler.
Nothing in him not strong.
What did I see out there instead
But a rat -- a young one, shy,
Intelligent -- almost, as my wife said,
Pretty, in silvery gray.