You’ll never bring yourself to enjoy the actual
sparrow, only its sound, the idea, its chip,
the pluck to stay when friends migrate.
Julie leaves the coast for the lakes
then stumbles home. You kiss her
cheek looking not to her eyes
but to the long expanse of sea she claimed.
Shades of ocean, countless. Tree-swallow teal,
barista-hair blue with flecks of bleach at the ends.
Also: thrushes, even through the cold months, loves
that come around as friendships.
Another knocking at the window he knows
is yours even with the lights closed
around the house—songs of return
don’t always comfort. Some sing
the boundary of a windowpane, others
use owl howls, unattainable in canopy.
You a faint red halo half-heartedly tracking.
Hold up for him an oak leaf from your limbs,
thicker than paper but full of holes
as you pretend this is about taking a stroll.
The next day you walk in the Audubon park
to the waterline, feeling like a siren, only
no wrecks. It is sunny out, barefoot
the sand stings. Wade into singe again
as you will, as it is written
on the thousand envelopes scattered
across your bed. Are you awake?
Smell the petrichor. Rain is coming,
rain has been. After the noise of thunderstorms,
you wait in your parents’ bed again, listening
for the katydids to tell you: it’s over. It’s okay.
Joey Gould is a poet, produce clerk, & educator living in a town called Hopedale. He is a longstanding contributor to Mass Poetry & Mass Leap efforts, writing for Masspoetry.org, leading workshops for Student Day of Poetry events, & helping to coordinate every Massachusetts Poetry Festival since 2011. You'll probably bump into him if you're headed to a Mass Audubon sanctuary.
I'm standing in the wind.
We had five years left to cry,
stay in, get things done.
The wordy gurdy stands
quiet in the middle of my head;
missing pieces [with just enough
shine] rubber-banded tog-
Back then, when she rose
from her beach chair, the weave imprinted itself
on the backs of her jiggly thighs.
Who would have carried it this far,
up the crest between watersheds,
then quit before the downhill?
This was your domain.
Pocket jingling a handful of brads, flat pencil behind your ear,
you’d bore through the browsers; pay and go.
When you rose from the sea
the crown of your head
touched the clouds
A conveyor belt delivers mutton and fowl.
Hot meringues suffer and collapse
under my ruthless fork.
His breath tripped over words stuck between his teeth
and tongue as sinewy shoulders curved.
The child stood, small, shivering in her tattered brown coat,
a dented, scuffed brown suitcase gripped in her hand.
mushrooms, beets, carrots, cabbage,
uncle’s ashen face.