Aug 122011
 
Listen if you will care to
		how the whippoorwill goes on
				whistling irresolutely
yet distinctly.
		So close to us
				this foreigner
stranger than an enemy
		alien
				living half his life
in the sky!
		Yet in his bone mouth
				and thorough throat
twists
		a shadow of our speech.
				Whippoorwill!
When I was a kid, an old Indian
		carving flutes
				at the county fair
played the whippoorwill's song
		to a tee
				and told me as well
how the song could hold a departing soul
		steadfast to the earth.
				Listen!
A ghost of sorrow
		is haunting our woods
				even now
as the whippoorwill collects
		bugs as well as souls
				for its young,
moon or no moon.
		Even so
				I am tempted
to believe the old Indian
		to believe
				his black eyes
and braided hands so good
		at finding the flute's voice
				in the wood
with his sharp
		thumb's-length
				of blade
parting the grain
		impartially,
				and his exact
imitation of the whippoorwill,
		so alien
				and so close.
Whippoorwill, I, too
		would know you
				just as if
your song mattered.
		I, too,
				am listening. 

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