Just After Dawn
Born to bees (they follow the deer trails
down to drink from the rivers).
Born to call the dog Houdini—
Hoo! Yo, ’Dini!
Born to parlay “First yellow leaves
on the ash trees/Cool breeze up
the backside/Spinach to Popeye.”
Born to Draco, low,
or the lights of town, or home,
or cooking fires off along the mesa—
Lost Horizon in a common poem.
Born to crows’ eyes
the furnace-red of sunrise,
and a country girl, old mosquito bites
up one arm and down the other.
Born to stand and see
as one of the thugs tees up
marbles from my childhood cache
and drives them in bright smithereens
off over the lower town and the harbor.
Copyright © 2020 by Merrill Gilfillan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 24, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
“It's one of several sunrise pieces, daybreak musings or noodlings, while the mind is fresh and fearless. The repetitive lead ‘Born to…’ invites glints from all directions, glints and facets of life both private and public, rough and smooth. It could go on forever... like blues choruses, or even a Book of Hours.”