The Birds of Menard’s II

All I have is a list, a promise of 11% back,

and an unwieldy cold wet metal cart

into which I throw the too-big chainsaw gloves for men,

the joint compound to hold naked seams together.

I’m trying to reconstruct true north.

In the garden center aisle with the grass seed,

dozens of little birds hop from shelf to floor

and back again, cheeping their fine fortune to each other.

I roll into the open: the mulch, the rock, the lumber.

Materials for starting over.

Fat grackles or maybe phoebes make nests in

the eaves, splattering white shit against the metal walls,

drinking freely from the puddles in the aisle

where a man on his knees in the concrete

nails a pallet together,

praying to the god of somewhere else,

the god of the end of the day,

the god of getting through.

Under the twilight sky birds and more birds dart through any open spaces

between the watering cans, patio block, garden gnomes, hoses.

I’m looking to fly through open spaces, too,

I’m looking for shelter from the sky but I don’t want walls,

I just need a little water, a little seed.

I put a lilac in the cart, to replace the one left behind,

but they do not have singing frogs, or the future I thought we had.

I don’t yet know all I lost or gained, probably never will.

The birds of Menard’s just keep on –

pilfer grass seed bathe in the puddles in the aisles build nests and watch

as the automatic doors to the main store

open and close open and close, the promised land

so close so close

to ruin.


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