The night we heard the whippoorwill,
we sat on rocks in Constant Park,
our hair mussed from the wind.
The florets of love-lies bleeding
held red in spite of the darkness.
We watched Cassiopeia and Orion
slow-dance to moon music.
Blowing the sure laws of physics,
clouds rolled behind the moon.
You slugged me and spoke of horses,
horseflies, horse-sense, how they
converge in the plausible world.
Fireflies looped above the grass.
Fog ghosted through the trees.
The night we heard the whippoorwill
was not the last night of our lives.
That night came in winter,
when the nightjar’s song was silent,
and the dirge of dead oaks
drove us to the high loess
cliffs above the river.
Gary Lechliter’s poetry has appeared in Atlanta Review, Chance of a Ghost: an Anthology ofContemporary Ghost Poems, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, New Mexico Poetry Review, Straylight, Tears in the Fence, and Wisconsin Review. He has a recent book, Foggy Bottoms: Poems about Myths and Legends, published by Coal City Press.
2 thoughts on “129. The Night We Heard the Whippoorwill”
I very much enjoyed hearing this read by you the other day. I can just picture the scene in my mind. Well done.
I am amazed at how strong the voices of the Kansas poets are. This gathers up into a dark storm, sending shafts of sunlit beauty along the way, and then leaves us gasping, caught in beauty, webbed into loss.