"Quiet Night"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
July 29 2003 11:14 AM

Quiet Night

Listen to Robert Wrigley reading this poem. The bat's opened thorax blips

        —that's its heart

beating, says the child—and its mouth bites at

        the air, and the cat

that brought it down sits two steps below

        and preens, while the pale cone

shed by the porch light makes and remakes itself

        with the shadows of miller, moth, and midge.

Listen, the darkness just under the stars

        is threaded with passings:

nighthawks and goatsuckers, the sleepy respirations of the forest,

        and the owl that asks first for a name,

then leaves its spar

        and spreads a silence

so vast and immobile

        you can hear whole migrations inside it,

the swoons, the plummets, the bland ascensions

      of souls.

Robert Wrigley's books include Earthly Meditations: New & Selected Poems, Lives of the Animals, Reign of Snakes, and the forthcoming Beautiful Country. He teaches in the graduate writing program at the University of Idaho. 

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