Unappreciated Butterfly

               I think I was on a balcony
               overlooking the whole thing.

                        --Yusef Komunyakaa 
                          "April Fool's Day"


No soon, no hard loan, no geometric woodwork 
to make you feel at home. No soap, no anonymous 
bourbon, no portrait or copy of a portrait painted 
by some writer or star or family member or any 
other-than-artist person. No short drop 
(you were fifteen floors up), no secret way 
out, no voice of self-hatred (which you are at least 
used to). No past tense. Sometimes no tense at all. 
Sometimes not even an all or nothing. Sometimes 
not even a real estate dream, not even a frame, 
not even a framework. A balcony but not a back 
kitchen porch. A woman hanging out her laundry 
but not hanging out. Railroad tracks and motor-
cycle gang around the corner but not a ticket 
or a destination. Not even the sense of a weird 
dead end. Not a lemon or a sun. No children. 
No stories about children, no crooked arrow. 
No ghost named Leslie or Vallejo. No C. No M. 
No J.

More by Michael Burkard

Amends

It's 11.9 miles to Mardela Springs. 
The public school's a left away from 
the town which is too small to be called 
a town.

Past the school and heading 
south is a road which 
immediately kisses country, 
a large pond there

with a house 
beside it. 
The shadows 
in the fall morning
make a wind beside the house.

The students are tired. 
It's Monday. It doesn't seem
to matter what day, most of the time 
they're tired.

In the early fall dark 
the road whispers to the pond.
"Amends." School is out, no one hears. In 216 
the janitor replaces a fluorescent light. 
He drops a screw from ten steps up.

The school is so quiet it hears the drop.
The school and the road begin their talk.
Soon the pond joins in.
"Amends."