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Clade Song 10

ROMALEA

arthritic wrecks of haggard oaks
soldier the backyard as slowly
rotting figs become jam from
crow’s beaks and stained talons
near the terraced garden where
everyone knows that the scarecrows
don’t work--just look at the birdshit
graffiti on them--the Devil’s Horses’
locusts have not returned this Spring
as if one plague won the lottery over
the others--the Palmetto bugs, who
breed in the oaks are always ready
to sneak into your door on the back
of your jeans’ legs--the entire economy
has gout, and our lawns are remembering
an inhuman world, the dandelions thriving
while no one bothers to buy that cheap
gasoline--however, aposematism now
shows our defenses--brightly covered
new skins designating “stay away”--I miss
eye contact--I can even get that from 
an insect these days--the intimacy 
of a sting, even--a public thing, gestures
more than hitting the feeders as migrant
birds--more like singing around them
as places once holy, places where we
compared notes for the next flights

 

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Joe Milford is a professor of English at U of Charleston, WV and at the University of West Georgia. He has two collections of poetry, CRACKED ALTIMETER and TATTERED SCROLLS AND POSTULATES, VOL. I. He is the editor of RASPUTIN: A POETRY THREAD (online journal).He currently resides one block away from the Chattahoochee River in beautiful Alabama.