Bruce Whitacre's debut poetry collection, The Elk in the Glade: The World of Pioneer and Painter Jennie Hicks, is forthcoming from Crown Rock Media. His chapbook, Good Housekeeping, will be out in 2023 from Poets Wear Prada. His poems have appeared in American Journal of Poetry, Big City Lit, RFD, North of Oxford, Poets Wear Prada’s The Rainbow Project (nominated for Best of the Net), and World Literature Today. His work is included in The Strategic Poet by Diane Lockward, Brownstone Poets 2021, and in the anthology, I Wanna be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe More at www.brucewhitacre.com.
At the End of the Day
The wounded beast retracts
his claws and hangs his tongue
to lap the waters of the den
to lie in softness then.
Where do I bring my broken bones, cut lip, my need?
Beaten on the street — Wall Street, Main Street, Back Street—
after, a cold drink and a classic flick, the cracked spine of the latest
savored in the right chair—it was all for this.
For this the commute, the clothes, the long hours,
the wins and losses to the prides of the savannah.
Life begins and ends in this cave, this tree,
this realm where loved ones circle and unwind.
This is the pod from which the seed emerges,
this soil, this shade, this sunny spot
is the best shot I’ve got to thrive and not
be breakfast for blue jays.
Here is the ringing phone, the screen, news from outside,
intruding fist I cannot dodge. So I choose
what I can: wallpaper, pillows, taps, mates, and say
I rule this howling world at the door I try to keep shut.
Remember to Live
Morning glories, hibiscus, rose of Sharon
summer blooms that last only seconds when cut
stand for the chain
wrapping the world around the stars and back:
fleeting but continuous
like a bird’s song
or the ship engine thrum
cruising the straits of Polynesia
ever present when I listen.
Even foaming volcanoes promise wider beaches.
To wake in this place
is to be a trout in a stream,
a bird on a branch,
steel tempered in forge
for the mystical epic.
Something is always coming.