The Common Good
September/October 2010

Last Autumn Song

by Jesse Nathan | September/October 2010

No, nothing,

she says, that is not God’s, and we approach
a crow ripping the entrails

of a truck-crushed fox, and the crow flees

No, nothing,

she says, that is not God’s, and we approach
a crow ripping the entrails

of a truck-crushed fox, and the crow flees
our wheels, and the wind fills and tests the trees.

She says, I’m afraid I’ve believed
too much,

so we climb out,
throw shut the doors,

balance on tracks, huddle like tongues, like teeth
we chatter, we hum hymns, her purple skirts

go stiff with crusts of first frost, howl
the wind, the train, we embrace, the earth shakes,

boxcars bullet past, day eaten by dusk,
one hundred and sixteen we count, the crow

returns itself to beaky work, we call it Eliphaz.

In the book that broke the reader, she says,
the angel swung a sickle

over the curvy earth, curvy steel, then gathered
the vintage, then pitched it

into the great wine press. A small book, she says,
small and compact as a heart, as a trap.


Jesse Nathan, a Sojourners contributing writer, is an editor at McSweeney’s and author of Dinner, a chapbook of poems (Milk Machine). He lives in San Francisco.
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