Paul Sampson
Farm to Market Road 429

Bloodstreaks on blacktop,
maroon enamel glyphs on black lacquer
where big birds tear at the roadside dead:
Ripped scarf of skunk, coyote shreds, smeared cat,
dog after dog flung and shattered,
dust on their open eyes,
armadillos and turtles broken open like melons,
dark red inside the dark green rinds.
The birds sail in, counting their blessings on fingery feathers.

 

 

 

Barn Swallows Feeding on a Windy Evening

Think of the wind near the surface as surf:
it breaks over reefs of the roof-lines, its waves
crash over the houses, curl over barns,
well up behind hillsides, seethe through the trees.

See the strenuous swallows a-swim in this fluid:
schools of them, tails stiff as spinnakers, turning,
frisky as fishes, fluent as eels,
intricate arcs as they intersect insects.

We watch, bottom-feeders, anchored like oysters:
we follow their flitter, their dazzle, their dance,
tracing their pathways, trying to fathom
unreadable meaning, like Persian calligraphy.