But how could we stop the rat a tat tattle
in the brain, the hot-headed shatter of hard wood,
pileated spring drill, stiff skull and muscled neck,
splintered walnut, shattered eaves, dented cars
it’s what language does with a long tongue,
batter the rail fence nail by nail, shatter the nests
of lesser birds, spray debris, no way to keep out the rain—
who can forgive her? Who cannot?
And so we divide ourselves into pleases and don’ts
while she considers us fodder for her tongue.
One day I saw a tiger cub paw a black bird out of a bush,
strip its feathers with a lick, and there was the heart of the fledgling,
jammering like a jackhammer, trying to escape its chest.
I should have kissed her, wrote Hardy,
if the rain had lasted a minute more.
We should have kissed her.
Lois Marie Harrod’s 16 th and most recent collection Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016 from Five Oaks. She is continually published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. Visit her online work at www.loismarieharrod.org