Socket and Drill


Woodpecker, far tree.  The
bark sounds soft from this
distance and so I turn the
television low to better hear
the pause and stab.  In
the gap, seed birds
like pockets of anti-matter
Is it territory or pleasure
they work?  I can’t say.
Sounds flash electric in
curtains of air.
Woodpecker silent now,
pulled back into dark
matter.  Clouds still gray.
Round sun sailing lost in
its socket.  And then just as
suddenly, it is Tuesday,
high summer.  A spider
overnight has dropped a
web as fine as sugar
between the clothesline and
Adirondack chair.  It sways
in the wind—Tibetan,
fractal.  Drumhead, trap,
net of prayer.  Still I hang
my clothes—black shirt,
shorts, wheel of nothingness,
faded pants.  Two blocks
over, the churned river pours
through a gate in the dam
like a fabulous drill.
The siren warning cuts
through a hundred
thousand leaves, across
roofs, and into my neighbor’s
garden.  The gate
widening.  More gravity
racing through.  Fishermen
are up to their hips in it, their
lines are almost tender
in the murk.  If mercy is here,
if salvation, it is not
in these ghost strands,
my wife’s torso
hung out as drying,
matted linen.  It is not
in the woodpecker, worms,
stink of bait, the purgatorial,
wind-pushed, fucked-up morsels
of hope that crawl
forever in our heads, the river’s
dream of passage, our
passage—drip—like a catechism—
the sounding into
our ears—drip.  Spider’s
body and silk reduced—because
I destroy it—to ruined silver.

Dennis Hinrichsen has published six books of poetry.  His most recent are Rip-tooth, winner of the 2010 Tampa Poetry Prize, and Kurosawa’s Dog, winner of the 2008 FIELD Poetry Prize.  He has new work in FIELD, The Journal, Scythe, and Solstice.  He lives and teaches in Lansing, Michigan.