Roger Pfingston

Brood X

Indiana 2021


Hardly what they were—those blood-drop eyes—
though here and there the crushed resemblance,
dark stains netting roads and sidewalks,


the high decibels of their need become
a weak buzz, a hint of silence, eaten bodies
reduced to a metal gleam of wings in the grass,


scattered on summer decks whose shade trees
still bear the exoskeletons—the clinging truth
of their precisely measured return—


and below those same trees the dropped nymphs

burrowing deep for the slow gorge of a tree-
roots diet, 2038 their ETA. Weeks later,


wherever we walk, the die-hard reminder
of a single wing tracked in on kitchen tile, mats
and rugs, the damp gray of the basement floor


where spider and cricket—one spinning
in quiet labor, the other singing a civil chirp—
repair the hour to a welcome norm.


Annual Binge

Post frost, robins are drunk
on the berries of the Bradford pear
and I am almost embarrassed for them,

screaming their derring-do, wildly
chasing each other, slamming
this very morning into our window,

a hard double thump and a bounce back
for another round, truly tipsy on tiny
globes of fermentation, their crops full

with indulgence. Even the deer—
come up from the woods behind
the house to kamikaze antics—

are startled to a freeze, rearing up
and turning back with a huff
to the timbered quiet of their night.

A retired teacher of English and photography, Roger Pfingston is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards. He has new poems in recent issues of Hamilton Stone Review, Dash, Tipton Poetry Journal, and American Journal of Poetry. His chapbook, What’s Given, is available from Kattywompus Press.

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