while sparrows & kinglets
while jays
while aerodynamic oak leaves

I sat inside with
a silence well past the age
when it could ever get pregnant

mouse nests in the furnace
were converted to ash & heat

a silence that sounded
very much like static


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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. Ooh. I like this a lot. The terseness of it, and the shape. The second stanza in particular really works for me.


  2. Second what Rachel said.

    Carries me, reading, exactly as I want to be carried – but with surprise.

    Once found a mouse condominium complex so complex and Escher-eqsue in my gas grill in spring that I didn’t grill all season for lack of heart to dismantle and burn it.

    The ones in the wood stove always went, though.


  3. Ugh, bad mouse condo visions.

    Think that this poem was shaped somehow by all those haiku?


  4. Yes, I felt a haiku-ness to this spare and evocative piece. What’s a kinglet?


  5. Thanks, Rachel.

    Theriomorph – It’s when they’re made from insulation I wrapped around the pipes that I take particular offense. Especially when they build in the back of a bookshelf or a file drawer.

    marly – Not shaped, but definitely prompted. A spill-over effect.

    Tall Girl – Very small passerine. Here in the eastern U.S. there are two species, ruby-crowned and golden-crowned. In Europe, there’s a species of kinglet called a goldcrest.


  6. I like the sparky, staticky feel that is not-haiku but distant, wayward cousin. Like mouse feet running in snatches, or quick bird-winging, or the attention span after having sat over-long in silence.


  7. Thanks. Of course, one of the main reasons to work on poetry — or anything creative — is to experience immersion in the moment, and over time to extend the attention span.


  8. It’s a gem; I like the way you dropped the verbs off the first three lines, and that last hanging ‘blue’ note!

    ‘a silence well past the age
    when it could ever get pregnant ‘

    Isn’t it good to get to there?

    There are also firecrests – I’ve never got close enough to any I’ve seen to establish whether they were gold- or firecrests, they don’t stay still long.


  9. My silence loving friend
    silenced his furnace
    with insulated ducts


  10. Hi Lucy – I missed your comment earlier. I think your kinglets have more intriguing common names than ours!

    The verbless phrases are a good example of experimentation flowing from tiredness: I couldn’t think of verbs at first, so I just wrote them like that and kept going.

    Bill – Insulated ducts? Sounds like a good idea for more reasons than one. It’s no fun lying in the dust and purcupine shit every few years to re-wrap all the pipes.


  11. No, I wouldn’t think.

    Hm! I gather you use steam heat. I had you down for default central air; noisy squirrel-cage blower — “static” being the whoosh that silences birdsong: a furnace misunderstanding!


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