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For Larry Yeatman

I was walking Larry
out my back door
to his old Buick
and there—
in my drive—
was a speckled woodpecker
laying on its side, to all
appearances, dead.

Larry bent closer,
but then jumped back
and said,
Its eye is moving.
I have to go. I’m too

I was thinking
about the task ahead—
the disposal of the body.
Then I nudged it
slightly with the tip
of my cane—nothing.
I nudged it
a second time
and it righted itself.
One final nudge
roused it into full flight
high into a neighbor’s tree.

Larry looked
and me and my cane
and said, Heal me.
I jabbed him
playfully with my cane,
and we laughed.
But if I were a wizard
and my cane were
a magic staff,
I would make it
my mission to walk
the earth
touching this one
and that one
like a New Age Moses.

Such joy there would be
to see them one
by one fly up
and away from the earth.


(Gary Blankenburg will be reading from his new book “Above All Things” (BrickHouse Books) Thursday June 18, 7pm at LitMore Cultural Center 3325 Keswick Road Baltimore, MD 21211. Gary will be joined at this event by Barbara DeCesare, who will be reading some of her recent poems. More information about this reading may found by visiting the Facebook event page or LitMore.)

Banner art credit – Gary Blankenburg