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I Hear a Bird

September 6, 2011 Comments off

by Daniel Lear

You’ve made it now, out of the low-middle class, all its striving
now nothing to us, see how we forget in lavender
lawns under the sweep of low willows? How is it to you, dear,
this dearly won salvation from the dimestore and the thrift?

Pass the salt in its crystal dish and do not
tip the candlesticks in their slim burning
while I lean careless on the delicate chair, and swig the wine like water
far far down to the dregs, contemplate the cellar yawning
cold beneath us, the dusted bottle racks, the yearning thick, distilled.

One day I said the vagabond life is good enough, but startled
by the sly slide of your eyes I understood the dark taboo,
and stumbled into your mute conviction
that more is always more but never quite enough.

Or were we more in the front seat sweated as ripe plums bruised
and ready for the tear of teeth? all that pure bleeding pure
as my breath in your mouth, a hot hardness against the snow of thighs,
the air scattered with static and a looped tape played.
My nails were bitten down
and all my jeans had holes. I hear a bird

trapped in spiny briars just at the moment you lean near
to slide your fine-pored hand across the linen, it comes to mine
like a well-fed snake into its burrow.

I imagine leaving:

at the last corner past the bank I stop because I have no place beyond this
curb, or yellow paint as warning, or sign leaning on its spindled post
or blank storefront glass half-draped with burlap
no, no place beyond right here and grit beneath my shoes.
Sitting, I become statuesque or granite-lined, or become
west of here perhaps a wider space or east
a narrow gorge, north become the blank tundra never thawing or south the shift and sigh of sand.

None of these becomings more myself than here
unless straight upward is an option despite wingless.


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Daniel Lear writes while attending nursing school and working (elsewhere) on an MFA. He describes himself as “a husband, a dad, a builder, and a farmer. Just the usual stuff.”

Categories: Imprisonment Tags:

Perspectives on the Geographical Cure

April 20, 2010 1 comment

by Dan Lear

I stood that morning with my back to the Atlantic
feeling tall. My shoes had been in six oceans.
My shadow etched a line across America.

By West Virginia I was smaller. Above straight
walls of rock the sky was a circle
I held in my arms.

In Kansas I saw the overpass twelve miles
before I reached it. At 80 mph
I stood still and disappeared.

I swelled and burst in the desert of New
Mexico. The dry air
sucked me brittle, a seedhusk losing seed.

By Needles I was too thin to matter
when the car broke down. I walked back to town
afraid no one could see me.

Finally, Monterey and my chest to the Pacific,
expanded like an eclipse.
At noon the sailfish lept into dark.

I was surprised to find you, still in me,
the same size you were when you left.


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Dan Lear writes in St. Louis, or wherever else he happens to be.

Categories: Health Tags: