The Ancient Modern
Terms of Venery for Solitary Birds / Joshua Alan Sturgill
You can’t fix this. There’s no embrace
tender enough to bind the pieces back, not
when so much is lost in each explosion.
a Reluctance of Egrets
Sweetly said reminders of a better time
are salt to the wounds. The solitude isn’t
voluntary. It isn’t bravado. It’s compulsion.
a Despondency of Wrens
It’s a desperate reach, up, out of life.
Blindly choosing direction by the heat
rather than by the light of the Sun.
a Credulity of Bitterns
Each soul has its set of passages. And with
each turn, each hall, each door, a piece
of our humanity is burned away from us.
a Subversion of Hummingbirds
…ten thousand fall at the right hand…
…and where I go you may not come…
Alone, Elijah steps into the cave. Alone,
Moses ascends into the dreadful fire.
a Resignation of Hawks
No terms of venery for solitary birds.
No comfort for the mother
of a stillborn child. If not war and plague
a Disquietude of Herons
then regrets and griefs. We die in isolation.
And who with tender words could justify
the graveyard just below the busy street.