Poem | Five Questions for Three Birds

(Zachary Spears / Unsplash)

What is the knocking at the door in the night?

...it is the three strange angels
Admit them, admit them.

            D. H. Lawrence
            “Song of a Man Who Has Come Through”


Mourning dove cooing sorrow
on the fence line, one that sings
like no other, tell me: For whom
are you grieving in my doorway tonight?

And you, cardinal, red cleric of the breeze, homilist
from the swaying trees, what are you preaching?
Strutting through this door cut from evening,
is that hellfire and damnation you’re whistling,
or just the redeeming relief of the fall?

Last across the threshold, dear strangely silent
crow—are you someone I’m supposed to know?
Tell me, if you can: In whose handwriting
are all these notes you keep leaving in my empty shoes?

Published in the October 2019 issue: 

Vernon Fowlkes Jr.’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals, among them The Southern Review, Negative Capability, Birmingham Arts Journal, Elk River Review, The Texas Observer, Ampersand Review, and Willow Springs. His poetry collection, The Sound of Falling, was published by Negative Capability Press in 2013.

Also by this author
Poem | A Constellation of Stones

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