Jim Harrison

This morning I seem to hear the nearly inaudible

whining grind of creation similar to the harmonics

of pine trees in the wind. my outrageously lovely

hollyhocks are now collapsing of their own weight,

clearly too big for their britches. I’m making notes

for a novel called The End of Man, and Not Incidentally,

Women and Children, a fable for our low-living time.

Quite early after walking the dogs, who are frightened

of the sandhill cranes in the pasture, I fried some ham

with a fresh peach, a touch of brown sugar and clove.

Pretty good but I was wondering at how the dogs

often pretend the sandhill cranes don’t exist despite

their mighty squawks, the way we can’t hear

the crying of coal miners and our wounded in Iraq.

A friend on his deathbed cried and said it felt good.

He was crying because he couldn’t eat, a lifelong habit.

My little grandson Silas cried painfully until he was fed

macaroni and cheese and then he was merry indeed.

I’m not up to crying this morning over that pretty girl

in the rowboat fifty-five years ago. I heard on the radio

that we creatures have about a billion and a half

heartbeats to use. Voles and birds use theirs fast

as do meth heads and stockbrokers, while whales

and elephants are slower. This morning I’m thinking

of recounting mine to see exactly where I am.

I warn the hummingbirds out front, “Just slow down,”

as they chase me away from the falling hollyhocks.