Night Chorus

poetry 0
Jayne Marek


Visiting rural Tennessee, I lie awake
in a small motel at the edge of a small town,
the night throbbing with sounds
so robust it seems impossible
they could burst from the delicate
woodwinds of frogs and crickets.
Here is a night of more than owls,
night of bobcats and weasels,
hunters in the shadows whose purpose—
to find and eat silently—slides past
the shrilling of little creatures
secreted among leaves and on bark.
Procreation their recreation
in early summer. The humid air
amplifies the singers’ needs
and singular voices in one
hot blanket of noise, under which
the tread of a predator’s foot
will not be heard. Alone, I listen
to the power: lives driven
to wend through underworlds
on the hunt for death and sex—one
that will always come, one that may—
in a world making no distinction
whether one skulks or shouts,
feeds, fornicates, or fails
to find anything more like meaning.

Jayne Marek’s writing and art appear in Calyx, One, Spillway, Eclectica, QWERTY, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, and elsewhere. Her poetry books include In and Out of Rough Water (2017) and The Tree Surgeon Dreams of Bowling (2018). Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart Prizes, she recently won the Bill Holm Witness poetry contest.