Death of the Author

A small pin-striped bird alights
on the dead cherry tree next to the porch
& starts gleaning its breakfast
from crevasses in the decaying wood.
At length I remember its name,
black-and-white warbler
& in so doing, forget the name of the author
whose Collected Shorter Poems I hold
in my lap. They’re orphaned for more
than a minute by my poor memory.
If I can just get the first letter…
something beginning with a G, perhaps?
That letter like a smile
warped into a grimace…
Or a T, that tall gallows.
The warbler stops to issue his usual
six whispery notes. Bill Knott.


I’m the proud owner of 15 new “homepubs”—homemade publications—from the great contemporary poet Bill Knott, who prints them up and bundles them off along with a limited edition print and an original painting to anyone who orders a painting through his website. Check it out. I find I like the whole concept of home pub, especially now that I have a new batch of homebrew ready to drink (more on that soon).