Hard Bop


It’s a sweet June day, and the mockingbirds
are singing, as are the rubber tires of cars
on the road, and both of these sounds reverberate,
echo, the jazz of early summer, with the muffled
percussion of wind in the trees. A crow
twangs and plucks his big black bass,
and I’m riffing along with the breeze, scatting
words here and there, trying to make sense
of my life, and the news of the world -
almost daily, another car bomb shatters
the desert, and hundreds of lives are torn
apart, as grief ripples outward in concentric
rings. Thomas Merton said God is that bit
of diamond dust shining within each of us
the scraps of stardrift, our shared DNA. What
new language now needs to be born, perhaps a fusion
of birdsong and sandstorm, perhaps an improv
of heartbeat’s ratatatat and moonbeam’s glissando?
Crows in the road. Tires in the rain.

Barbara Crooker (www.barbaracrooker.com) lives in rural Pennsylvania. Garrison Keillor has read seven of her poems on his radio show The Writer’s Almanac.

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