Thursday, November 27, 2014

Poem in the Early Morning

The Sudden Light and the Trees

My neighbor was a biker, a pusher, a dog
and wife beater.

In bad dreams I killed him

and once, in the consequential light of day,
I called the Humane Society
about Blue, his dog.
They took her away

and I readied myself, a baseball bat
inside my door.

That night I hear his wife scream

and I couldn't help it, that pathetic
relief; her again, not me.

It would be years before I'd understand

why victims cling and forgive.
I plugged in
the Sleep-Sound and it crashed
like the ocean all the way to sleep.

One afternoon I found him
on the stoop,
a pistol in his hand, waiting,

he said, for me.
A sparrow had gotten in
to our common basement.

Could he have permission

to shoot it? The bullets, he explained,
might go through the floor.

I said I'd catch it, wait, give me

a few minutes and, clear-eyed, brilliantly
afraid, I trapped it
with a pillow.
I remember how it felt

when I got my hand, and how it burst
that hand open
when I took it outside, a strength

that must have come out of hopelessness
and the sudden light
and the trees.
And I remember

the way he slapped the gun against
his open palm,
kept slapping it, and wouldn't speak. 

Poem by Stephen Dunn
Photographer Pero Crepulja

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