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Alan Michael Parker

Alan Michael Parker is the author of nine books, including The Ladder (Tupelo Press, 2016). He is the Houchens Professor of English at Davidson College and also teaches at the University of Tampa’s low-residency MFA program. He lives in Davidson, North Carolina.

By This Poet

3

The God of Draperies

When revelation comes, the God of Draperies 
Cannot decide the difference 

Between in and out. 
A patio is out though in a yard, he thinks, 

Nursing his ignorance 
And a mostly gone Tom Collins, 

The sunshine and the cicadas and the loveliness 
Competing for his rage. 

But a car is out? So what about a swizzle stick? 
Out of the box but in the drink, 

Then out of the drink and in the mouth. 
A little bit in and out, he thinks, the vinyl slats 

Of the ancient chaise lounge 
Stuck to him 

Like bacon to a slice of Wonder Bread. 
And the soul is in? And heaven is out? 

But when the soul is 
Out, is it then 

In heaven? 
Time for another 

Drink, a tall one, but only half. 
Which is the way it is, he thinks, 
         
With gods and worshippers and revelation; 
No one is ever sure 

Exactly who 
Has been revealed to whom.

What was he saying and to whom

What was he saying and to whom?
With a silver thermos he left the building;
He paused in the courtyard and turned.
What was he saying and to whom?

The building at dawn not yet a building
Paused the way all buildings do.
What was he saying and to whom?

Time doesn't stop; time doesn't wait;
Time has never moved.
What was he saying and to whom?

If the dog had been sleeping
She would not have awakened,
So small was the moment to lose.
What was he saying and to whom?

What was he saying and to whom?
The courtyard at dawn was the same
As the sky, the sky swept clean by the moon.
What was he saying and to whom?

Good morning, good-bye, I love you, I'll try.
What was he saying and to whom?

When I Am a Hummingbird

I love two dogs, even when they’re killing
a baby possum near the columbines,
shaking the varmint
until the death squeal chokes to a gargle,
 
and both dogs stand before the bloody marsupial
nosing it to move,
 
because that’s Nature, right?
(And whom did I just ask whether that was right?)
(And what’s a moral quandary for a possum?)
 
I love the dog who leans,
matter-of-fact in her need,
and the big smile of the small Pit Bull.
 
But when I am a hummingbird, finally,
I will beat my wings
eighty times per second,
 
thousands of seconds
and eighty thousands and thousands
 
of my splendiferous beating wings,
faster than all of the eighty thousand
beautiful things in the world,
 
and no one will stop me or catch me
or take my picture, I will be too fast,
 
and I will dive into the meat
of the possum
and beat there,
the mean, bloody thing alive again.