Clade Song 9

Sciurus carolinensis

A squirrel’s squawky aria
is raw tellurian longing, a chestnut burr
of sound, a scraped cri de coeur,
sorrier and sorrier, no pure

saw-whet back-beeping like a van,
but instead a despairing question
rasped by a dying man
in a murky corner of a Caravaggio—can

it really be a love song sung
by that rogue eyebrow leaping along
roof peaks at dusk and skittering slung
wires? (Yes. By harsh desires stung.)




K. E. Duffin's work has appeared in Abridged, Agenda, Agni, The Carolina Quarterly, The Cincinnati Review, Claudius Speaks, Crannóg, Harvard Review, Kestrel, The Moth, Pembroke Magazine, Ploughshares, Poetry, Poetry Salzburg Review, Prairie Schooner, Scintilla, The Sewanee Review, Shenandoah, The SHOp, Southern Poetry Review, Thrush, Verse, Zymbol, and other journals. King Vulture, a book of poems, was published by the University of Arkansas Press. New poems are in Canary, North Carolina Literary Review, Salamander, and Slant.