This Sort of Thing Happens All the Time

You think you’ve memorized the calls
of North American birds, particularly

in the East, but one night you hear a call
like a whistle someone is not blowing

hard enough: the ball inside just rattling,
rolling. You see a forested mountain,

and dusk is suddenly thick with words,
as if you could hover your cursor

above the pastiche of greens and see
each name pop up: juniper, citrine, celadon,

hunter, fern. I’d say only in a dream,
but doesn’t this sort of thing happen

all the time? One night you find yourself
on a dark street in the suburbs, with air

that smells like cut grass—jungle, myrtle,
viridian, spring—and laundry steam.
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