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Tara Bray

Several Mornings While Running the Dark Streets

I caught sight of the opossum, pale and visible,
moving along the hedges of the yard,
its strange light edging into me,
a sort of light in which I lost track of silence,
disgust mingling with beauty,
like the contortionist’s body, so beyond us
it’s nearly ugly,
my nerves sharpened--as if spirituals loomed in the treetops—
fueled by this spectrum, this old lumberer.
This morning, another run, well into light,
I flinch, the opossum too close, dead
by the sidewalk, the grass sweeping its snout,
fur rippling in this windy stillness.
Staggering, the air in our throats
down here where we exist,
ripe and brief on these homely streets.  
The opossum, without its manner,
a beautiful aside.

To the Ruddy Duck During Hard Times

Little master who never shouts the answers,
I sought you out on someone else's word.
I am only a sorry girl needing work.
You won't meet a lonelier lemon.
I'm no ecstatic by the pond.
Let me tuck you under my armpit
and share your warm blue possibility
your blue bill roughed twice by wind, twice by surprise.
You're beyond me ruddy duck. There is a periwinkle
in the sunlight hammering out the blue distance.
You are out there bobbing under the unorganic sky.
I have a satchel of apples. Unhinge your bill
and let me place this red against its blue.
Praise our honest hour. Curse our royal downfall.
I believe in that curse, this impossible dialogue.

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