Beware the barbed-wire,
the copse, the dogwood branch
split by a hunter’s careless foot.
Beware the eyelash, the slim
tongues of grass, and the smokestacks’
corruption of fog. Beware the natural
bridges, the canticles not yet sung,
and the prayer beads gripped
by troubled nuns. Beware the plumage,
the heart, and the gun the suicide holds
in his mouth. Beware the histories
of peoples, the vigils, the unmarked graves,
the hunter’s careless foot, the museum,
and the soot gathering in chimneys.
Beware the confidence of lovers,
the cuckold and the cuckold’s
sleeping son. Beware the songs
that echo from passing cars,
the last talk with an evicted neighbor
and the eviction. Beware the nestlings,
the eyelid, the maddened thirst
of rabid dogs and the recognition
in the screams of bitten children.
Beware the cautionary privacy
of a priest, the surrender to wasted days,
the smothered resentment of friendships,
that barbed-wire, that copse, and anything
else I might have missed.