Carey McHugh

The Somnambulist

From airshafts I hear rummage. And summer
long. A matter of joint-rot and den,
a toothsong constant as a clatter of calves
and as blind. The needlepoint is (rootfringe
on a dead fig) fine. Concentration here,
crosshatched rag and gall, the fibers gouged
with stitch-lift. Awareness is like this, the stirring
low of swallows banking and impossibly
flown. Then a lamping in the wicker hour,
a stall, suspicion summoned or released, awake
all evening like cattle-dogs unhooked from sleep.

Carey McHugh
“The Somnambulist” is from Original Instructions for the Perfect Preservation of Birds &c., a chapbook published by the Poetry Society of America (2008), and first appeared in Denver Quarterly (Volume 41, 2006).