Quieted - Holly Day

The woodpecker flutters down to the tree, begins pecking its way along the branch
making loud knocking sounds that rattle through the field. This is a protest song
against the scheduled passing trains that will fill the air with so much sound
that there won’t be any room for the high-pitched chirps of the tiny grass finches
chasing crickets and spiders in the early morning, struggling to perch on grass stems
fluttering their wings for balance, there won’t be any room for the thrum

of herons as they stalk fish in the nearby pond, their great, long grey necks
bobbing up and down as they walk, eyes always on their prey, there won’t be
any room for the splash of an unexpected frog taking to the air and coming down again
the lonely howl of a coyote waking up, unseen and far away
its voice floating down into the waiting emptiness and filling everything
like a single drop of oil introduced into a bowl of water.

Instead of these sounds, the morning will be filled with the caustic rattle
of metal wheels rubbing up against metal track, the shaky uncertain sound
of a car roughly tilting almost too far to one side, righting itself and wobbling again
and again, introducing an agonizing anticipation to this field of silenced protest.

Holly Day (hollylday.blogspot.com) has been a writing instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review, and her newest full-length poetry collections are Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press), and Book of Beasts (Weasel Press).