“Sky Drawing #4” by Peter Makela



  As the sound system played riffs --- un-

   reeling sax, piano, and drums ---

    and the late sun made the flights

  and stays of birds, to and from

   the feeder on the deck, pass through the sliding

    glass door onto the white


  wall, shadows that hung

   like mobiles, only to dark-

    flash apart, lost in the blue


  falling outside the room, only to

   flutter back, as one, as several whirl-

    ins, miming the blind


  beat, giving sound the form of free-

   wheeling helixes as the chords

    played them in another world


  of blues, the two waves over-

   lapping, light and sound, shadow and note

    as one in some passed-into-other


  place, before the birds flew

   into the growing shade of woods and evening

    and the reeling music gave chase





 ​​ ​​ ​​​​ I didn’t know his house, the wife, two kids, a dog,

except when my neighbor wasn’t in L.L. Bean’s warehouse,

running down mail orders, but stood under the overhang

of his gray-painted deck, sawing, drilling and hammering.

He crafted birch birdhouses and glass-sided feeders

 on top of long metal pipes. ​​ He liked to feed meal worms

to bluebirds and thistle to goldfinches and mount double-decker

nesting boxes for swallows that soar and glide in loops.

He hated the house sparrows, muttered there were too many,​​ 

here because a rich guy thought we needed all the birds

in Shakespeare’s plays and imported them from England.

When sparrows nested in his boxes, he grabbed the clutch of eggs​​ 

and dumped them in the bushes. ​​ I wanted to say, sparrows

have a song, god is supposed to watch everyone.

After the kids left, the dog died, the wife stayed, he injected​​ 

air into the veins of his strong forearms but not enough. ​​ 

From the sawing, drilling and hammering, I know he is back

from the ward. ​​ How do I tell him, sparrows will nest​​ 

on cement ledges, forage wild seed, unlike swans and snow geese,

their flocks aren’t cut down by wind turbines or crash

from sonic booms, they thrive by flying low.




  You put her in pre-day care & day care & pre-K

  Care & pre-school & school with special ed teachers

  & a speech therapist when certain words were hard

  & after-school care with sitters like aunts who never

  Had kids & soon aged out & the neighbor’s teenagers

  & their best friends until they zipped up boyfriends

  & lucky you could afford English-speaking au pairs

  Until on her own she could call security or set an alarm​​ 

  Or snapchat if she didn’t want to have anyone over

​​   & how were you to know if when you were around​​ 

  She only had two words for you posted on one finger

  Though you’d heard of other girls who ate like winter​​ 

  Moths nibbling on wool sweaters & to think you carried​​ 

  That girl in your body & her pushed into your world.



Glenn Morazzini’s poems have won the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize, an Amy Clampitt Residency Fellowship, Maine Arts Commission Literary Fellowship and have been published in Poetry, Rattle, and other journals.