Reading the Newspaper
Michael Carlson

Though the mailman bash our mailbox

with his flute, or children fix

their feet within the filthy feathers

of a broken owl, our nation

must sometime relinquish its echo,

and not to a photograph

of President Haze, or dead words cut

in a tub of stolen moccasins.


There is more to the fire, to be said

of the fire, than a reporter

can thumb in the delicate ash. If we follow

the flame width, we measure in error.

Better the leaf smoke absorbed

in blue sweater, the deer in the lake

that we fear causes cancer,

trees in a faraway weather.


All news is opinion except poetry,

and most poetry, too floppy

to read on the train. The fat facts

withheld from the wind like lead

in a typesetter’s lung. Yet strawberries

startle us, seeds cupped in skin. We study

the pores of our nose seventh-heartedly,

confusing the moon with a rooster.