I don’t need you to tell me why I’m here
or solve the mystery of how I slipped so far
and came to, lost in a snickering wood,
your trill my sole directive.
No bewigged guardian of the law
will ever compliment my patience, or sense
of beauty, or your eloquence.
Like you I’m playing with a kingless deck,
bound to songs that others made,
and with my life I sing out the pale result,
my reputation like the heavy coat
of a Victorian postman.
Kindness makes me angry. It’s rough justice.
Now we’ve reached the final, spoofing call
when you parrot the morning bell—
melody dug in, song-fuse set,
then that spine-deep tingle
that bursts in your abrupt last line,
enlightening darkness, slowing time.
By Derek Webster, from Mockingbird (Signal Editions, 2015)