Two Poems: How Many Nests of What & Word

Ellen Doré Watson

How Many Nests of What

In a net of light against the buggy dusk,
squinting at my neighbor's just-hayed field,

hot whir still in my ears from the sickle bar
that wiped out how many nests of what, or

nearly? The wind--lately just a whisper-
brush on cymbals--rises fierce. Like Richter

with his I-beam, it scrapes a wide stain
across the fast-fading sky. A gift of pigment

to close a black-white day run through
by a late taste of blood. The article

I'm reading in seeming womb-light says
happiness is historically related to morality.

Stop to wonder whether happiness is instead
simply present or (zap!) gone--maple sap

by late April alive only in its sweet bottled
form--but morality? Whose? Maybe

it's something stupid simple as: give without
get. Extrapolate! And, get this, my thesaurus

says the opposite of happiness and virtue is
guilt--better known as internal bleeding--

which swivels me to the innocents: velour
of mouse or bird beast--and could one still

be heaving out in the close yonder? I eat flesh
and can't blame the farmer. Or my human dead,

forever bringing up my failings. Though maybe
they're forever changing like the sky in my eyes.


Nightsmell of sweet-aged wood, and curtains
are a breathing. Wet palm of wave gentle-slaps
thighsand. Not like yesterday's brutal. The ribs
of the room with their generous. Resting places.
I understand where charity comes from, but clarity?
(No no-see-ums here in the white float of almost
sleep.) Looking for a word, I've stepped into a boat.
I want eager. Pray me. Astonishment. I'm courting
this best of abstractions. It says: Look at the fish.