“Dispatch from a Pandemic: Upper Jay, New York” by Christopher Locke

blackbird poem (2)
Light flowing forth from the blackness, from Fludd’s Utriusque Cosmi (1617)


                          –April 14, 2020

corona samA blackbird’s trapped inside my bedroom,
popping the bright window like a child’s
gloved hand. Golden eyes eerie with pupils—
all of him nerve-wracked & wired & furiously
mute. I want what he wants, so I bend & creep
to the other window, grit-toothed & pillow
shielded, alive with Hitchcockian terrors I still
imagine, even at this age. I fumble with the sash,
look over my shoulder at another dry flourish,
his desire heated to almost a reckoning, & I
duck & weave & grimace until the frame
gapes & he funnels like chimney smoke up
into all that blue. But I never think to ask
where did he come from, & how did he choose
the silence of this house, this captive place
where we still dream dark as those wings.



Christopher Locke’s poems, stories, & essays have appeared in such magazines as The North American Review, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Poetry East, Verse Daily, Southwest Review, Slice, The Literary Review, Barrelhouse, 32 Poems, The Sun, Rattle, West Branch, SmokeLong Quarterly, Saranac Review, Southeast Review, Whiskey Island, and NPR’s Morning Edition and Ireland’s Radio 1, among many others. 25 Trumbulls Road, a collection of speculative fiction, won the 2018 Black River Chapbook Competition (Black Lawrence Press) and was released in early 2020.