The corn has stopped whispering, “Rise,”
and waits in silence for high clouds to bend in rain.

Across the highway, soybean bushes crouch
like green dogs wolfing bowls of earth.

The actors in the hit play Boomermania wake,
achy-boned, with ancient jingles in their heads.

The parents of those kids shot dead in Norway
keep trying to catch their breath as the icy

waves that Vikings conquered thrust them down.
My wife, home in LA, declines to buy her own

“personal watermelon.” “I need a friend,”
she tells the produce manager, “but not that bad.”

Montana’s dams have overflowed with confusion,
flooding the once clear and decisive Midwest.

Herds of armored tiparillos—thought extinct—
charge out of hidden caves, smoke swirling

from wedge-heads, their egg-like shells hatching
health plans better than the President’s.

I’ve banged my head on the debt ceiling again.
I’ve lost my faith that a little dab will do me.

Yet my hotel’s staff don’t hiss, “Death to our guests,”
as their L.A. brethren do. They hand me blueberries

in a yellow bowl. They cry, to my “Good morning,”
“Yes—and every birdsong’s thanks to you!”

Charles Harper Webb
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