“Pole Barn Song” by David Capps

What is love but the desire for unity,
flame that seeks surrounding air
pulled by wind changing form,
which softly lays the oak trees bare

one evening whispered to my ear,
as I was no one in particular, and it
was looking for a mirror, this desire
for unity, the desire to be as one is,

robins sing and take up straw, fly
from perch to perch, not held to limb
or altar, at home in high rafters,
their nests we hear but cannot see.

Still others know but cannot sense,
as when a smile freely given, feathers
ruffled, falls with wing’s growth minus
sounds of machining, the lathe, filings,

outdoors the disparate harmonies
of wind chimes, as if each tone wants
to be the tone that it is, warm birdsong
to ring out despite machining, throat

and belt sputtering chirp in winter
which bring back this same question
to memory: what is love but the desire
for unity?

Impossible, if you are you and I am I.
We place a mattress on the cold cement
as the fledglings dive and fly, and to ask
the reason for it, is like asking why

love desires unity: one thought too many.

David Capps is a philosophy professor at Western Connecticut State University. He is the author of three chapbooks: Poems from the First Voyage (The Nasiona Press, 2019), A Non-Grecian Non-Urn (Yavanika Press, 2019), and Colossi (Kelsay Books, 2020). His manuscript, Drawn in Evening Light, was a finalist for the 2020 Gasher first book scholarship. He lives in New Haven, CT.

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