David Wright

David Wright's poems have appeared in 32 Poems, Image, Hobart, and Quiddity, among others. His most recent poetry collection is The Small Books of Bach (Wipf & Stock, 2014). He lives in Central Illinois where he teaches creative writing and American literature at Monmouth College. Online, he can be found at sweatervestboy.tumblr.com and on Twitter @sweatervestboy. 

Christmas Crow

A bird is trapped in my house, a crow,
             a starling. I do not know birds.

And he keeps battering himself
             against the windows. Then, like any bird

in a poem or song, he sings. I want to keep him
             here, until Christmas, when I bring in the tree.

Then he will feel more at home, a pine
             or fir tree in the living room. I do not know trees.

As he hovers over the nativity, I will play him a blessing
             on the piano where he has been leaving

his shit for a month, and we will all sing to him:
             “Brich an, o schönes Morgenlicht.”

How could a bird not love Bach in German?
             All the birds like Bach, I’m assured, by other birds.

How much will he love me when, on Epiphany Sunday,
             I set him free, and like a carol, a hymn, a curse

he rises in the clipped cold and flies
              his bright shadow across the January snow?


Joy to the World and to You, Brother, in the Checkout Lane at Target, Christmas Eve

Ram my knees with your red plastic cart
full of cheap plastic shit and I’ll tell us both
of the savior of all human hearts who would
rather I didn’t say shit in front of your child

and that I wouldn’t buy another pair of shoddy
child-stitched slippers for my son’s perfectly warm
feet or this hand-picked selection of organic teas
in a heart-shaped red and green basket. Go on,

ask it, why? That drummer and the sleepy town
both so little, all the wise and averaged sized men
and the seasoned sweet silver of bells might as well
remind us: we all love someone in another town

who doesn’t give one whit about the itemized list
on our credit card receipts. Once, in a fit of worry,
I wrote out every line I loved from her poems.
Bend near, man, like Santa, and I will whisper to you

the one I most wish could come true. Yes? Right? So
beautiful my cracked knee heals at the miracled
thought of her hands. And the O holy night shift arrives
while we trail each other’s tail lights through freezing rain.

Look left, twice, dear God, before you turn into traffic,
all bright red and green, rush home slowly, brother, surely.
No single treasure we own could begin to measure
the presence of a body. Its breath. Our sacred skin.

Jesus Feeds the 5000 Using Various Cutting Edge Recipes from 1950s Magazines

So the disciples gorge themselves on honey dipped spam
crowned with the many crowns of identical pineapple rings
as they jostle for spots on the picnic blanket, and the children

spread marshmallow fluff onto sinewy plates of canned yams
and lick off their hands in unison. The whole hillside exalts
the name of the Lord when the angels on horseback arrive–

bacon wound around cubes of cheddar cheese on pointed sticks,
roasted over coals—and then all fall silent again when a single
jar of tuna and seven small prunes ignite into a prune tuna

towering inferno. It’s hard when you feel so full to imagine
the feast of all feasts lasting forever, to understand just how many
or few can be fed from one crown roast of lamb on a bed

of canned carrots, braised in brown sugar and as blessed as grief.


Hollywood Eve Remembers

–after Thomas Hart Benton’s “Apples of Discord” (1949)

Look, it was the only October apple left in the orchard,
depression falling down around us like steady leaves.

I counted Adam’s visible ribs from a distance, branches
on the denuded trunk of his sternum while the snake

and those women gossiped in harmony about my pumps,
tried to decide if my hair had been dyed when it was plain

as the paint and the open door on a barn that my red

is natural. I remember the tree root at my back. The silk

on my thigh, and the sky. What I cannot recall: the fruit
his hand cupped, heavy and delicate as my breast: over him

I’d hovered? Placed it there? Or this offering was his to me?