2008 beth kope
What I Know Now That I Didn't
In 1860, Eugene Schieffelin brought to Central Park, New York,
all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's work.
The clouds of starlings don't belong to this sky,
speckling the blue in acrobatic billows of commas,
reweaving tatters in an oxymoronic
starling surge, these furtive ballistic
missiles low fly cross continent,
out wing the finches, fill forests, fill
city scapes, pillage purple martin nesting holes,
take credit for being
Cannons and poison and guns and nets and birders
declare battle and still they strut,
defiant brood from 60 parents;
200,000,000 ruling the berry harvests, the marsh beds and shitting
so much it can't even be fertilizer.
Send them back to the small island,
to the onionskin pages of Shakespeare's poetry,
captive once again, repeating, "Mortimer,
Mortimer," naming the dead.
I don't belong to this earth anymore;
well suited to invasion, contamination,
scraping land into my own shape. I still strut,
fill the air with expelled maladies.
What haven't I tossed into snowdrifts or
bodies of water, out of sight, out of mind?
So send me back.
To a loping walk on a soft plain,
to days before machines extended my reach.
Let me build walls that don't extend into space,
or windows that don't fly into cyberwords.
Return me to days digging holes that don't vanquish
mountains, that seep water, fill again easily,
with dust blown in,
with fallen leaves.
That when I till the earth with my own hands,
scraping it into hillocks, they are erasable, that
I am erased.
Beth Kope is nearing fifty, travelled,
but not enough,educated, but not enough, has a few skills yet to acquire
on her life journey. She has a husband, two daughters who have left the
nest, a black round dog, adores the seasons of her wet coast and lake
swims as often as possible. She loves her job supporting students at Camosun
College in Victoria. She has been published in one anthology, two lit
mags and a handful of chapbooks. She's currently working on two manuscripts;
Falling Season and Average Height of Flight. This rant poem for the environment
is from Average Height...