Poems by David Oestreich

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Sotto Voce

by David Oestreich

From Canary Spring 2011

David lives just beyond the 100-year high-water mark of the Blanchard River in Northwest Ohio, where he photographs the local reptiles and amphibians.

Nothing is secret from the worm;
its ear is wide as the world. ~Unknown

I’m not giving up, even if it means
going back to the beginning,
holding my fingers to each
articulation of the tulip bloom,
fondling the coarse Braille
of tree bark, counting the cricket’s
hi-hat rhythm until I catch myself
beating it absently; going back,
tracing the rise and fall
of earth’s every heave, learning
so completely I could walk them
any midnight by new moon.
I will climb into my crawlspace
and nuzzle mold. The nymphs
beneath the river’s stones will be
my alphabet. In summer I will parse
the mist and conjugate the rain,
in winter, contemplate the pines’
declension. All this I will do
until, finally, I can speak,
not the names of things, but things
themselves; until my every word
admits a universe.

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