My wife is in the field,
scouting a proposed route
for transmission towers,
sent ahead of the engineers
through bird habitat
earmarked to funnel Labrador’s
bridled electrical yield
across bog and scrub forest
and broken escarpment
to feed our iPods, our toasters.
Muled under wet gear and tent,
she is parsing the ferment
for a singular eddy of grass,
a thumbnail afloat
on a churn of wilderness,
like some resolute
Romantic poet in pursuit
of a metaphor to best
all nightingale metaphors.

What powers the world is guile
and grit and happenstance—
Nature surrenders nothing by
design and little by chance,
each cup & saucer concealed
with a cunning distilled
by trial & error’s
feral ingenuity.
My wife’s left hand for scale
in her photos, the nest
palming its eggs like ballast
meant to settle the keel,
to keep that weightless vessel
riding trim and steady
in the current’s murky pull.

This appeared in the September 2015 issue.

Michael Crummey has a new collection, Little Dogs, due out next spring.




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