Fallen Kingdom


Glinting dragonflies with diaphanous wings
and catfish splashing, spreading lakeside rings;

knobby-kneed fawns wobbling in arboreal shade
and robins above, singing a triumphant aubade;

geese waddling as a troupe— gander, goose and goslings—
and angry little ducks quacking very cross things;

chipmunks flitting in tawny flashes, to and fro, to and fro,
while squirrels bicker and bite, in the trees and down below;

pond congealed with green algae, black muck, and duckweed,
and bullfrogs burping rudely, from shoal to mud to reed;

foxes playing like wildfire in the bulb-bobbing clover
and the light showers of rain as the clouds pass over;

hawks perched on power lines to search for unsuspecting prey
while buzzards circle the remainders from yesterday;

a sun-blanched skull with a broken antler crown
tangled in the cedar-post fence, all tumbledown;

a dilapidated barn with a mournful, gaping mouth
opened toward a thunderstorm rumbling to the South;

the ancient tractor overgrown with vines, its wheels rusted,
the tiller blades dulled and the engine block busted;

broken cobblestones upon the front-yard path,
a lopsided swing and a shattered birdbath;

a farmhouse peeling, its gutters clogged and its siding stained,
spiderwebs splayed across every unbroken window pane;

the weathervane’s cockerel cracked at its lightning-struck comb
and the cupola collapsing inward, like the rest of that home;

and these headstones hidden among the wilderness of wheat
where there pass no children’s laughter or words or pattering feet;

their corpses cuddling together for carrion comfort beneath it all—
husband and wife: childless, finite, fallen, mortal.