You are almost asleep when that whip-poor-will
begins his serenade outside your window,
the one he will repeat tonight and each night into autumn.
Last summer you dubbed his noise suicide song
and often threatened him with your bedside slingshot.
He is unexpected, forgotten, yet at once vividly
recalled, the bold herald of your bedtime.
May has taken you by surprise.
Short-term memory finds you tapping trees
and boiling sap, warming hands and lungs
in the steamy sugar shed.
There is no long-term memory.
This morning you walked to the lake,
tried again to imagine its absence.
Sometimes you believe you are the ghost of Jimmy Grove,
evicted when the dam moved in; at home
on his land, roaming his woods, sleeping again
in the house he built on the hill.
Only love of the water betrays you.
A whip-poor-will can be heard for miles,
but this old goatsucker won’t budge
from the bedroom window. Near Entriken
spring sleep is as thick as the syrup
and soon you slip into it, suspended
as the bird’s sound.