Between the shapeshifter shadows of the world and the Soul
secrets pass. On a Facebook video, I watch a bird stitch leaves.
Amazing. In my experience, birds don’t perform for just anyone.
Certainly not anyone whose new neighbors are as loud as mine:
who arrived from the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
by way of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s their America, you bet.
But they could leave off domestic hostilities that seem to pour
out into the street when it’s warm. Stop acting as if the poet
Tony Hoagland was accurate when he wrote: The greatest
human intellectual achievement of the twentieth century
was the discovery of how clueless we human beings are.
Last month, my neighbor told me that she sold her house
to white Americans. She said it as if I should be pleased.
I want to pass that along with the happy look on the face
of Angel Rivera who says he’s found a home in America—
in Ohio with its love of OSU football and covered bridges.
Joy and cluelessness is where Angel’s story is starting.
Next comes trying to stitch together food and a place,
a living wage. He risks a joke about Trump. Tells me
his kid butt-dialed him from a class at the high school.
In his America, he says, most of the neighbors simply
want him to get the shapeshifter-flowerbeds tended to
before the winds carry sporophytes from elsewhere
and republics of weed and wildflower take over.
Roy Bentley, finalist for the Miller Williams prize for his book Walking with Eve in the Loved City, is the author of seven books of poetry; including, most recently, American Loneliness from Lost Horse Press, who is bringing out a new & selected in 2020. He has published poetry in december, The Southern Review, New Letters, Crazyhorse, Shenandoah, Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, and Rattle among others.