"It Takes Particular Clicks"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Feb. 10 2009 7:00 AM

"It Takes Particular Clicks"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Christian Wiman read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

Flip-flops, leash-clinks,
spit on the concrete
like a light slap:
our dawn goon
ambles past, flexing
his pit bull. And soft,
and soon, a low burn
lights the flight path
from O'Hare,
slowly the sky
a roaring flue
to heaven
slowly shut.
Here's a curse
for a car door
stuck for the umpteenth
time, here a rake
for next door's nut
to claw and claw
at nothing. My nature
is to make
of the speedbump
scraping the speeder's
undercarriage,
and the om
of traffic, and somewhere
the helicopter
hovering over
snarls—a kind
of clockwork
from which all things
seek release,
but it takes
particular clicks
to pique my poodle's
interest, naming
with her nose's
particular quiver
the unseeable
unsayable
squirrel. Good girl.

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Christian Wiman's most recent book is Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet.