The Clothesline
Kate Schreyer

Like one bird leading fifty birds into a tree:

clamor then silence, the morality

of keeping up. When the rest were expelled,


when the rest were made to wander

off in their bodies, thatched over now,

the snake was allowed to stay.


That was what staying meant, and being

the last. I could see it in each bird.

In that careful season, I pinned myself


in my dress, and later, my dress

to a clothesline. The days billowed,

stiffly. The days as a hymn, sung


as the words appear, line by line, the mixing

of verses. Good sun. Good

and goodness. My tongue in my mouth


sounding as if I was being played

by being struck. The birds in the morning,

possessed by wind. The fluff that scattered.


A sounding, with a padding of silence,

a mistake that echoes, terribly

on and on, deliciously on.