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The Safety Net

M. Travis Lane
From: Prairie Fire, vol. 27, 2006. Bliss Carman Award. The All-Nighter's Radio (Guernica, 2010)


The birds drag up the dawn.
that's what they do—
and when it spills
like a slow water over us,
the birds pipe down—

like the all-nighter's radio
which, scarcely on,
twitters its minor messages,
not so much heard as felt.

At dead of night the walkers are gone home,
the itinerant shouter silenced—just the burr
of the grey-yellow street-light to assure
the waker of their presences.

Against the whelm of emptiness each fragile sound
spreads out its net, secures
us, as if hanging here, above the ticketed abyss
of silence, every night—

and then the birds.
Day bangs its drums.


M. Travis Lane's works copyright © to the author.


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