Rita Dove

The Charm

They called us
the tater bug twins.
We could take a tune
and chew it up, fling
it to the moon
for the crows to eat.

At night he saw him,
naked and swollen
under the backyard tree.
No reason, he replied
when asked why he’d done
it. Thomas woke up
minutes later, thinking
What I need is a drink.

Sunday mornings
fried fish and hominy steaming
from the plates like an oracle.
The canary sang more furious
than ever, but he heard
the whisper: I ain’t dead.
I just gave you my life.