Joan Colby

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The Squirrel

Just one time, the squirrel succeeded
In launching from the bird bath
To the top of the feeder where he gobbled
Suet studded with sunflower seeds
Like a man hit by a car gulps the offered brandy
And thanks providence despite a broken femur.

The squirrel, obviously, also injured
Limped off as I clapped my hands
The way god is said to do when annoyed
Flooding the earth with a demand
To be adored. Each day the squirrel contemplates
The consequence of sin. Sits up poised
On the edge of the stone bird bath,
That is upheld by three cherubim,
And folds his hands over his belly
Like Buddha wondering about the worth
Of relinquishing desire.

Clio’s Ancestry 

Clio springs from the mouth of the teller,
Saga of a bonfire. Blizzard of happenstance.
Adorned with the fingerbones
Of chance. The golden chain of
Demographics. She inhabits every city
Where men erect temples or invest
In commerce. Shopping her wares
Sea to sea. Her profile on the ship’s prow,
Her voice in the sweep of oars.
Every creation story begins
With a mystery that she solves
In a thousand subterfuges.
Ravens, turtles, coyotes, the panoply
Of gods in their violent kitchens.
She recites the mneomic epics.
She writes, she types, she broadcasts.
Inexorable blogger, she designs
The web in which we hang suspended.

Joan Colby is editor of Illinois Racing News, a monthly publication for the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, published by Midwest Outdoors LLC. She lives with her husband and assorted animals on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She is also associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press. Her latest books are Ribcage and Broke.