The Art of Migration
humans knew to love
must have had a migrating moon
drifting in a black sea of sky.
And if it is love when birds
head out all in one direction,
when we wake in gray light
to a squawking that seems
either a renunciation
or a blessing, this must be
the door behind which love
touches its ear to thin wood,
this V that geese form
above our house, calling
otherworldly in new light.
And because she loves the calling jays,
the carnal heat of late July, she imagines
wading with her husband into decades:
work then children then illnesses then dying.
In the dream the lake beyond the field
is the bright iris of an eye, the stigmata
leaf shadows staining earth. And though
she knows that prayers are older
than the prophet grass, she imagines
speaking to the half-blind garden wall
with its crumbling stones, speaking
to the primitive voices of crows.
Each new word arches its back in grass,
this dumb substance we carry in the mud
of our bodies, how the preacher moon
drifts desiccated in a night sky.
Doug Ramspeck is the author of four poetry books. His most recent collection, Original Bodies (2014), was selected for the Michael Waters Poetry Prize and is published by Southern Indiana Review Press. Individual poems have appeared in journals that include The Kenyon Review, Slate, The Southern Review, and The Georgia Review. An associate professor at The Ohio State University at Lima, he teaches creative writing and directs the Writing Center.