Poetry / Poets / Writers / Writing

Poems by David Chorlton


To the baseball fans
who get off at the stadium
talk means reminiscing
about arcane pitching facts
from long ago, while
the man who takes the seats
they leave behind
strikes up a conversation
with the lady next to him
who strokes the dog
he holds on his lap, informing her
of the thirty years he spent
as a teacher before turning
to real estate for seven more.
She is kind to take an interest
while he takes over rubbing
just between the shoulder blades
and describes the place he lives in
somewhere past the end of the line.
She has little to say, but listens
attentively, the way the overnight host
listens on the radio show
in which callers come out
of the dark to tell him
what they’d tell nobody else
and speculate
on whether their experiences are proof
of extraterrestrial life, offering
five white birds at midnight
or the brightly lit room
a young daughter insists
she was taken to. She’ll reach her stop
before he reaches his
and he’ll talk in a language so plain
his dog will understand
only certain moments on the Earth
are worth the words it takes
to describe them, like
the swallows he sees from the bridge
flying in windswept light
above the ruffled water.


At the window once again
watching the light
fade to a flash on the wing of a moth,
I’m open to whatever

messages the universe sends,
and I’ll intercept even

a word from the stars
to the spider
who, right now is suspended
by each of eight legs
from the web

on the other side of the glass.
I’m ready to receive
what the darkness has to say
and to pass it along

in confidence
as befits a whisper

that has travelled
millions of miles: a drop
of sound wrapped in ice,

the true meaning of which
is known only
to arachnids.

A Pigeon’s Portrait

He’s on his wide, wooden perch
with his head in profile
so as best to display the ruff
and sprigs of feather clustered
at his beak. His breast is solid black
and when folded, the wings
are white with subtle spots
of darkness. But the feet
are most spectacular, with a spray
of feathers bursting from each one,
thick like the oils used
in painting them. He was old
when we took him in, too slow
to fly much. He seemed to exist
for the sake of his appearance,
and sat quite still
to be painted. He’s an impasto
showpiece with an orange eye
burning from the canvas, as if
to express his amazement
at being what he was.


David Chorlton has lived in Phoenix for more than thirty years, after spending his early years in England and Austria. His most recent poetry collection is The Devil’s Sonata, from FutureCycle Press, and the poems testify to his affections for the Southwest and its wildlife.


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