Dear John Berryman – David Crews

I am the little boy who cries wolf.

I am the man who cannot stop

the boy from speaking. From telling others

he knows best, that there is a baby bird

trapped deep in his chest, and it must fly

you see. That little boy is a dying man


and so he hears only violence—no matter

the cost. He has come to collect his things

and wants to go home. Somewhere

deep in the woods where foxes roam

and mustelids sometimes lurk the streambed

and the ferns with their fractals of light.


Just so you know, he plans to leave you

on the bookshelf. (Mayakovsky too.)

Nothing personal, it’s just survival.

We all mean to live one way or another—

be it the man who blames other men

be it the man who forgives his self.

David Crews ( is author of Wander-Thrush: Lyric Essays of the Adirondacks (Ra Press, 2018) and High Peaks (Ra Press, 2015)—poems that catalog his hiking of the “Adirondack 46ers” in upstate New York. New work can be found in Rewilding Earth, The Stillwater Review, Porcupine Lit, and The HOPPER.

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