Spring 2020

At first light they start.

The latest scourge has come
to me by computer screen:
digital images and sounds
of the breathless, the dying.
Voices of the millions
gathered in revolt. Removed
by two hours from New York,
I am useless. The news
collects inside like the heat
of day, and at night I escape
to the porch where it is cool
and I slide into sleep.

Morning brings birdsong.

From my perch amid the trees
only the screen between me
and the world: a catbird
with its meandering melody
then a robin. A distant veery
spirals its song. A wood thrush
downhill its fluting cousin.
Whistle of a cardinal nearby.
So many. A chorus. A throng.
I don’t know all their names.
Oriole. Tanager. Wren.

Their names. There are so many.
Breonna. The sound of eight shots.
Ahmaud. George who cried
Mama. Tamir Freddie Sandra
on and on. They are loud
in my head. They echo through
time and the forest. They drown
out the creek. It is not yet 5am.

I am saying their names

David Eye is the author of Seed (The Word Works, 2017), chosen by Eduardo C. Corral. David earned an MFA in 2008 from Syracuse University and has received support from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Fine Arts Work Center. Before turning to writing, David enjoyed a career in the theatre; before that, he spent four years in the military. This places him in an elite group of writers who have served in both the U.S. Army and the Broadway tour of Cats. David has taught at Manhattan College, Syracuse University, and Cazenovia College, and serves as an Associate Editor at 32 Poems.

Photograph by Kurt Viers.