Troy Jollimore


In July it occurs to the mockingbird
that many a human would love to lay
a rough, unfeathered hand upon
its faculty of flight;
and so it takes to the ground, grows round
and mothlike, and becomes,
so far as any human eye can tell,
a whippoorwill.

In August it befalls the whippoorwill
to wonder whether, given its love
for the tip-topped tree, its peculiar penchant
for singsong, those disturbing dreams
in which it swoops and careens as if
aflame, its actual name
might not be of an altogether different feather:
in a word, mockingbird.