BY DENVER BUTSON
a scarecrow is doing a rain dance
out in the field
his rain dance consists of holding
as still as possible
through many days and nights
that pass with no rain
for as as many days and nights
as anyone could possibly endure
and then when it starts to rain finally
the scarecrow continues standing still
as if he weren't trying all along
to get it to rain with his silly dance
as if he weren't wishing
this whole time for rain
he holds still
through the rain
knowing he has to save his energy
so he is able to hold even more still
when it is time to do
his rain dance all over again
BY DENVER BUTSON
the audience gathers. but the audience is
just corn. and the corn has been here all
along. the curtain rises. but the curtain is
just the sky. and its rising is just the
morning. as mornings have been all along.
the spotlight falls on the scarecrow. but the
spotlight is only the sun. and the sun just
happened to fall upon the scarecrow. the
scarecrow takes his moment at center stage.
but the stage is just this field. the
scarecrow is only at the center of this field.
depending upon your perspective. the
scarecrow clears his throat. and delivers
his soliloquy. even though he doesn't really
have a throat to clear. and his soliloquy is
just silence. and silence is not really
silence. because of that dog barking.
because of that tractor starting. because of
that one or is it several birds screeching.
but it is silence enough. and the scarecrow
speaks. or doesn't speak at all. with such
authority. that it is like nothing we have
ever heard before. and we listen.
profoundly moved by the truth of it. or the
absence of any truth of it. as we have
wished to be moved all along.
Denver Butson has published four books of poetry: triptych (The Commoner Press, 1999), Mechanical Birds (St. Andrews Press, 2000), illegible address (Luquer Street Press, 2004), and the sum of uncountable things (Deadly Chaps, 2015). His work has been featured in Poetry 180, then-US Poet Laureate Billy Collins’ program for the Library of Congress and its corresponding anthology 180 Poems, as well as in dozens of literary journals, including Yale Review, Ontario Review, Field, Willow Springs, the Adroit Journal, Caliban, Exquisite Corpse, Winter Tangerine Review, and elsewhere. Regularly featured on NPR’s Writer’s Almanac, Butson has been thrice-nominated for the Pushcart Prize (once by Joyce Carol Oates and twice in 2013). He is one of the founders of BACAS, a cultural and artistic laboratory in Southern Italy, launching its first gatherings, festivals, residencies and events in 2016. He lives with his wife and daughter in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
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