Job’s Comforters Fly Over Wisconsin

Once, driving across dry, husky cornfields,
Three cranes who I saw take flight only seconds
Before are now eyeball to eyeball as they
Cross where I once was, driving this autumn
Day on the way to lectures and papers, a life
I lead when not in the forest.  The three, quiet
As fanned air, glide by just above my new
Green Focus where inside I begin babbling,
Speaking in tongues as I’m so moved,
Honored, so close to bill, eye, and lice.
The filthiest one manages to land
In the passenger’s seat, the others argue
Who’s sitting on which side in the back.
"You’ve got a problem, kid," the front
Seat passenger warns.  When the comforters
Of Job arrive I hardly expect the old bug-eyed
Cranes, but they’re better than more of those
Cellos and violins which usually take me
Across the fields into the town where I work.
“Buddy,” the older one in the back, fidgeting
With the seat belt, “Buddy,” he says, “you
Wanted a prayer circle, right?  This is us, man.”
I’m still trying to figure out how they got in.
But I’m glad they’re here.  Wouldn’t want
Any other avian visitors.  The other one in the back
Just stares, glad, I suppose, someone looked
Up and even smiled.  It’s only then that I know
Why we’ve begun to go back to everything old.
We do it all—love, sex, taxes, the Budget,
Afghanistan, the Pentagon, H1N1, even death.
Our four seater is beginning to stink some,
Yet I can’t ask them to leave.  Every day we
Sort out more and more of what was left
Out so very long ago.  I’ve even managed
To stop picking at the lice when they take
Flight inside our little spot of misery.
—DeWitt Clinton, Milwaukee, WI