Chapter 16
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Book Excerpt: This Shaky Earth


Surely her beak is tired, every day pecking
the basement window as fall unleaves.
Fearing termites, woodpecker at mortar or trim,
I walked out, a brownish flutter to the bushes.
What she sees—strayed mate or rival—
draws her to afternoon’s mirror, her own eye
glinting back, taps my complacency like the reaper
come to call, believing all will be well, all manner
of things will be well despite slippage and seizure,
blindness and fracture. Tap-tap the graying light
as oaks shed their treasure, tap-tap the guardians
ever at my shoulder. Reap-reap, the night sparrow
low as bullbats over dusty ball fields, reap
the glass world rattled ahead and behind,
        its insistence my bright companion.

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