Saturday, April 5, 2014

National Poetry Month: Daniel Tobin

"The Decoy"
(Daniel Tobin)

When I read about the eagle that soared
Down from its heaven, having spied from the heights
That lone duck it assumed would be its dinner,
And thought how its single-minded eye
Must have clicked on its prey like a camera's shutter
Before it glided along its own rifling image
In the water, then caught in its relentless grip
The decoy a fisherman chained to the lakebed
Before it rose aloft, knowing itself
Again the flawless master of its realm,
I thought of the time I dialed by instinct
My dead parents' phone, how I sat in the room
As the forwarded number came up as my own,
Like some unalterable link of fate
Snapping me back to my past, and think now
How I perched on the numbed edge of my world
The way the eagle must have hovered in bewilderment
After the anchor, immoveable below, wrenched
The wooden bird from its talons, the chain
An iron cord splashing back into the deep,
Then silence. And both of us stunned by gravity.
"The Decoy" by Daniel Tobin appears in issue 44/45 of Artful Dodge. His work has been anthologized elsewhere including Hammer and Blaze, The Bread Loaf Anthology of New American Poets, Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn, and Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll.

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