Laura-Gray Street

Doorstep Ecologist

But it should have fur and sun.


Shaking the fern fronds, the small dog windeth.
She stands, forepaws perched on wickerback,


peering for squirrels. What do you do
with the no-longer-husband in the son?


With the you in the daughter?
I’d like something beautiful here,


something profound, not this untuned piano staining the wall.


Something exact, lineated,
scanning the low skies like aisles at the CVS,


as if birds were purchasable as envelopes.
There is bittersweet and aileanthus. There are herds of white-tailed deer.


No mammalian tragedy for black comedy to pick clean.


The ancient Egyptians thought all vultures were female, opening
their vaginas in flight to the inseminating wind.


Thus translated “breeze scavenger.”


Root tangle and stem, and the buzzards mathematical,
sine and cosine, pi in the sky, the sky a drawer of wing-nuts.


Except that’s what you hate about Nature:
all those numbers, bleary, smeared, our trading on them.


I admit the disingenuousness of snow, rocks, birds, clouds.
And creeks, all bodies of water. But if a sentence isn’t a black snake,


why syntax and all its sinuous equations? Consider:


Sylvia was saving herself for marriage, but then there was Art
in the Age Of Mechanical Reproduction
. So she lost it


in the back seat of the Eighties. He used a sandwich baggy
as a condom. Those were the days before Ziploc.


Forget rigor mortising, clutter of taxidermy.
Not eviscerated but visceral: roadkill.


Because it’s a hell of thing to move a dead horse (the equipment
is hybrid trapeze, crane, tow truck—and very


expensive). Why not let it rot in the field?


Open season. Demolition.
Lo, the small dog curls into an ear.


Lumber and mortar and everything mortal.
Efflorescence with each bang of the dust mop.