Mennonite Poetry Home | Larry Nightingale



Field Guide Notes

...and that was the instantly recognizable noise of a whistling uncle trailing off
through the woods... note the muffled echoes

in muttered argument with himself, a learned back-and-forth as between
the silence of twilight and the silence of dusk

he carries in his skull and inner ear (these no weightier than a fragile dry bone
or bubble) a vast and glittering audio-lab ringing with the trills and modulations

his little head nodding, his grey matter engaging with the metaphysical machinery
of all far-flung creation's grand existential chorus

that he's one tone-deaf twitterer in a mighty cloud is more like it

yet just as the learned physicist and astronomer suppose the universe
90% mysterious dark energy, dark matter, so too might friend and kin suppose
—there is more here than greets the ear or meets the eye

again note between the gates of dusk and twilight the muffled noises
of old uncle-bird, yet again editing his field guide and bible

a silence—dark and liquid, of plain brown-winged prayers...

now if you hold high his birthday candles, and beam your birders' flashlights
you will see him perched there up his half-century tree, a feather
in his cap, like a question mark... the flightless winged thing considering...

Listen! Is this it—that once in a lifetime call?

© Larry Nightingale




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