Joanna Klink

With the onset of darkness it calls.  The clipped

shapes of the note flair out, somewhere at the woods’


sharp edge, into senselessness.  A fine rain

suspended in the air unrelieved.  Night-winged,


with large forward-facing eyes and in truth I have

never heard it—though it calls.  Though I could


scarcely make it out from the narrow bed,

though a brief rain fell inside the room


and the brushwood miles away made a leaping weir

in the stream and the shape of a swallow dove


over reeds of wheat that swayed, though there was

no wind, somewhere behind its eyes


or brushed the discs of feather on its face

and I could not understand what I had lost,


having not heard it or cared, having moved

through the rooms of this house for several hours,


months, turning off hall-lights or the stove or turning

over in my head what I no longer believed,


unwell but for the whites of my eyes where once

the sun could be seen rising in winter as now it


calls and the call breaks easily in all directions

and slips beneath the hovering maple trees


and I think it must pass over beetles, minerals,

wildflowers and thin bones, over pale-and-dark


needles of pines, highway bridges, boatlights

on muddy rivers and the untallied golds of farm-


fields where seeds float, low piano notes

over lakes of air into which rooted things


rise, and yield, like the arable blues and blacks of

foredawn and the blue tint of the cloth awning


over the man’s face turned down to the street in grief,

and had I known I would be so long here


I would have seen that certain rains never

do sink fully into the ground, felt the shape-shifting


speech of leaves was part of who I was and

wondered a little longer about the source


of the rainbed and the two irises suspended in

each of our eyes’ black liquid and the flowers


in lake ice in a northern wilderness where an owl,

unable to adjust, unable to open its throat, sings,


regardless of what I thought or had sensed, through such

merciless blankness, ceased to sound long ago.