Forests, Diction, and Other Things That Will Not Help”

by Panio Gianopoulos

Originally published in The Rattling Wall (2012) 

Originally published in The Rattling Wall (2012) 


What’s the word for that

feeling you ignore

when you’re seated behind the house

where the sunlight is last to fall

and you notice the body

of a freshly killed bird in the grass,

its noble head jacked backwards

and its black wings crossed like the arms

of a tuxedo model. You missed

its death. Only heard about it

in the second retelling, how it flew

into the house and the cat

sprang from the arm of the couch

and brought it down

like the hope of something

a year after it’s too late.

All week you’ve been

confronting and renouncing the idea

that you destroyed a number of lives,

yours included, and surrounded

by bright middle class bougainvillea

while your wife tells you, again,

to go fuck yourself, you look for the woods,

or the next best thing, the word

that will save you.