[ToC]

 

2 POEMS

Carolyn Hembree

FABLE FROM MY FOREBEARS

Some folks don't believe in birds. A big old black bird landed right there dropping its wing down off our roof. Right down the center of the house. Sure enough, that's where we found my dog dug out under the kitchen. Ate the gray poison toad—chasing it since he was a pup. Dragged him out by the scruff. A far piece from the house. Went right-handed at the road down to where the culvert gets shrubby. Covers him up. And that old black bird turned to watch us. Then took off. Back, like as not, from whence it came. Some folks don't believe in birds. Crow buzzard. Buzzard vulture. Vulture raven. Raven. Call them what you will, you ought believe in birds. If you want to be let alone. Otherwise, they'll perch to warn you. If you take no heed, they'll pluck your roof. Pluck the thatch till the mountain dumps snow on your bed. Wake up. Thank the bird. Thanks for letting on there's a boneyard under my feet.

 

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DID THE UNIVERSE HAVE A BEGINNING, AND IF SO, WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE THEN?

Then. It took
off. An ark
was the ribcage
of a horse a
dog drags and gnaws
and drags past
a world of curs
left behind.
An afterlife
was the costume
of a blue jay.
Yes, I found it.
Now. Put it on.
This. This. This.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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The first five sentences of "Fable from My Forebears" were inspired by the words of a neighbor who lives in a converted slave quarters. I've only seen her a handful of times over the years, but her appearances always feel portentious. She puts me in mind of beloved relatives, long dead. Stephen Hawking asks the question "Did the Universe Have a Beginning, and If So, What Happened Before Then?" in his documentary A Brief History of Time. I don't have much of a head for natural laws but love the idea of scientific inquiry. So, I hypothesized in my own way.