May/June 2016 • Vol. XXXVIII No. 3 Nature's Nature |

In a Small Park with Bench, Jacaranda, and Bird’s Skull

A woman was praying for a clump of fern to sprout  or otherwise make a miraculous appearance on the ground Beside her, to soften the harsh linearity of the concrete bench  she had chosen to sit on, or that had chosen to be under her, But she was sure she was not one of the chosen, for if she were  a fern would emerge wherever she commanded, And she needed it also because she objected to the jacaranda,  which was at the peak of its bloom: it was so atmospheric In its lavender hubris that it threatened to drag her back  into a childhood that didn't bear repeating, But it so happened that, instead, a boy ran up from the playground,  set the skull of a bird on her knee, and dashed away coughing Like a terminal consumption victim—the child could be forgiven,  he had short-circuited the terrible vortex of her early life With the vacuum of his own, and the talisman he had brought  was the skull of a grackle, picked clean by ants and burnished Through a season of dust and

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T. R. Hummer’s tenth book of poems, Ephemeron, was published by LSU Press in November 2011; his second book of essays, Available Surfaces, will appear in University of Michigan Press’s Poets on Poetry Series in 2012. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and teaches at Arizona State University.

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