David Chorlton

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A mockingbird at five
trills and whistles the day to life
while a sphinx moth in the fairy duster
moves flower to flower
before first light turns them red.
The minutes shade
from dark to early traffic
to white-winged doves on the sidewalk
and a dog pulling hard
at its leash. A breeze kicks up behind
joggers trying to outrun
the bad news that roosts overnight
and appears sure as fate
in the morning: executions, political
deceit, warships on maneuvers
and a dropped catch in the ninth
to give the game away. It’s early,
so much has yet
to be decided; who gets bail and whose
request will be denied; what to fix
at dinner time; who to deport
and who to forgive. The telephone rings
to begin the latest round
of soliciting and fraud, business
as usual with no chance
for a truce, and the lost dogs in the park
who went to sleep as house pets
have woken up wild.

Moving Out

Throw away the throwaways, hold on
to everything your conscience
won’t let go of. Tell the birds
you won’t be here to feed them anymore
and suggest to the stray cats
that they stray a little further from now on.
After thirty-eight years convinced
everything is useful sometime,
admit being wrong. Release the memories
trapped in amber, take unfulfilled ambitions
from the freezer to melt finally away. Sweep
up the dust and reflect
on how change had its way, then present
the keys to the new occupant
who’s been trying on your clothes
and is already spreading word
on how long out of fashion they’ve become.

David Chorlton is a European who came to Arizona in 1978 and loves the desert. He and his wife lived in a historic (by local standards) house for 38 years until moving along this year to a different part of Phoenix. His newest publication is from Presa Press: Bird on a Wire.