Poem | Sandpiper

He flies only to scurry along another
reach of surf where he
pricks the cold for prey smaller
than grains of prose. The freedom
to guess right is his autobiography, and as oracle
of the about-to-happen he prefers
the edges of day, dawn and sunset, and rainy hours

that never climb to noon.
He does not weary—his errands do not cease,
and his flight is a diary snapped open,
snapped shut, taking in no sweep
of mountain. Master of the hidden, witness

to the nameless, feasting on careers even
more unheralded than his own,
he cocks his wings
and darts with haphazard courage,
his virtuoso pause obvious to everyone
and secret.

Published in the February 12, 2016 issue: 

Michael Cadnum has published nearly forty books, including the National Book Award Finalist novel The Book of the Lion. His most recent book of poetry, Kingdom, includes many poems that first appeared in Commonweal. He is working on a new book of poems, The Promised Rain. He lives in Albany, California.

Also by this author
Poem | New Moon

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