Audio Poem from “This is What is Invisible” #9 of 12

As a reminder, I’m posting an audio version of each of the 12 poems in my new collection This is What is Invisible.  This is the ninth posting, and it’s called “I Swelled, Everything Swelled”:

I Swelled, Everything Swelled

Saturday after a small rain, the air still thick,
the stream loaded with silt and fertilizer.
I need to run but my lungs are thick with
too much of some things, not enough of others.
A few mosquitoes, lots of sweat, the calm woods
and if I look close the light from the stream
moving on the undersides of the high leaves.
Why should I care about pronouns and referents
when the purple wildflowers I can’t name are
standing tall, when the birds are crooning easy,
when the cricket I saw ten minutes ago
is still crossing the path? I thought
crickets hopped but this one was walking,
hustling but not going fast, a slow foot
onto the hardpack and a long way to go,
some distant kin to the little mammal
like a round tube of hurry that scuffed out
fast onto the highway and met neatly
with my left front tire so that I saw it again,
a week ago, on the way to Pine Grove. I said
nothing to my friend about it as we drove past,
and she didn’t notice it.
It had seemed to know what it was doing.
I have had it with road kill poems
larded with large noble animals, with
invisible strangers who leave the terrible
bags of evidence to swell and testify,
and yet I know it is not enough merely
to mourn our own small dead, the ones
we do not know or love until we kill them
helplessly, just going where we need to go.

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