A fragment broken off a canary mystery play
At the end of Rome the emperor
and his followers tweeted at one another
until they violated the Tweeter rules.
They burned the forests for the wolves
so all that were left were the cathedral roofs
and then they burned those too.
The ceiling of rotating heaven
cranked by the dehumanized persons was buried
& fourteen centuries later praised by painters who fell
through a cleft in the soil,
who dreamt the frescoed raptors thereupon fantasy
whereas in truth they were just extinct.
* * *
Of this entire disenfranchisement,
the incandescent streets:
corseted throats heave
back names from the slurry.
Glowing yellow in a cage
full of oxygen: chants unheeded
crimes with impunity.
* * *
What have we to say now that the reoxygenated Anti-
gen can no longer tweet?
Who’s there to dub the silent spring?
A New Yorker columnist. A self-exploiting Insta-
brand. A bellows of poets in Milwaukee. Haunted
Batter the wind against the fenced-in
national language organs to come
more variously up for air.
What breath’s left to shriek into the empty shaft?
This broken chorus of terror and nest, rape and repair.
Copyright © 2023 by Jennifer Scappettone. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 21, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.