By TRISH LINDSEY JAGGERS
It is easy to believe the earth stands still,
that each night the little dipper hangs from a different nail,
that the moon follows the lamp of sun as it counts its till
from the day’s tips and tabs and yesterday’s unopened mail.
And each night the little dipper hangs from a different nail
driven deep into the dark ceiling
above yesterday’s tips and tabs and weeks of unopened mail.
Beneath the turning sky, the whippoorwill bleeds its song,
nails the stain deep into the dark ceiling.
The mockingbird, too, rehearses its song at midnight.
Hidden by the silent turning sky, the whippoorwill’s vein of song,
a quatrain followed by a couplet.
At midnight, the mockingbird practices its song,
a ballad of other birds’ old rhymes and repetitions—
tally, four-lines and a cross, and the sky turns on.
Small speckled eggs birth more old rhymes.
The morning sweats into arousal,
ticking off time, four lines and a cross.
A feather swims across the streaming song of birds.
The sweaty morning writhes as the moon pulls away
from sassafras leaves dipped in dew.
A feather seeks the breath of song, of day.
The sunflower lifts her head from sleep
beneath sassafras leaves dipped in dew.
I sit outside with coffee and mending.
The sunflower lifts her heavy head.
Across the bur-cut field, hay rolls strain to stay.
I slow-sip the brine of coffee, shirt bunched, button in hand;
the thread splays before the needle’s eye.
Over the dry crackling grass, the hay rolls lean.
The sun turns everything morning, a crayon of sky.
The thread splays before the needle’s eye.
clouds gather, mate, and separate,
A melted box of crayons—sun, sky.
My hand shakes behind the thread.
Clouds gather, mate, and separate.
The rain lifts her skirt as she steps over our hill.
Behind the needle’s narrowed eye, my hand shakes.
It is easy to believe the earth stands still.
Trish Lindsey Jaggers, of Smiths Grove, Kentucky, received first place in poetry in the New Millennium Writings contest and has been published in numerous literary journals, magazines and anthologies. She has a master of fine arts in writing and teaches at Western Kentucky University.
Editor’s Note: This poem was a finalist in the 2008 New Southerner Literary Contest.