Matt Rader


Yellowthroat (I)


No one knows
What’s happening.
The birds

In spring evenings
Like lasers sound

In movies.
It’s a fact:
No one knows,

Least of all
The common
Yellowthroat calling

Your money,
Your money,
Your money,

From the half-inked,
Sketch of hawthorn

Hung haphazardly
In your window
Gallery. Art can survive

A market economy,
But it can’t survive

Your body. A cow-
Bird will lay

More than forty eggs
In the nest
Of another species.

Such scale, opportunity.
What does this
Have to do with me?




Yellowthroat (II)


The answer is
Nothing. The forsythia

Its yellow flag
At the beady black eye
Of the warbler,

And the warbler’s
Tiny phasers fire
Sweet, sweet,

Sweet, through
The willows
And thickets. My mind

Is only here
To hear
These things

And witness
My hearing. Everything
Has a song. My song goes—

Who am I?
Where are we?
What’s happening?

That wee yellow-
Throat skulking
In bluestem

And feather grass
Makes nothing
Happen, said the sky

In its measured
Prosody of horizons.
Like memory.

Like grief. I pay out
My breath.
It rushes back.



Matt Rader is the author of several collections of poems, most recently, Desecrations, and the forthcoming critical poetry memoir, Visual Inspection. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

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