Syrinx Spring

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?
                                                                                                    Pentagon rebate. 

                                                                   Knock knock.

                                             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.