In the Drawer of My Wooden Pillow, I Found a Leaf

In the drawer of my wooden pillow, I found a leaf.
From it I made eight leaves, stitched a spine, and turned it into a book.
I call it the Folio of Replicated Sounds. Like the lyrebird,
who hangs his music in my head, I mimic what I hear:
B is for bullhorn and bacchanalia, H is for the human sob.
For the laughing song of the kookaburra, turn to K,
and for the decibel level of the male moan, M.
But it is the Leaf-Turning Month. I close my book and pluck
from the alder a twig; I remove its pith with a needle
and line the body with graphite. A thought like a bolt of cloth
unrolls, and I scrawl it through the air: “If the dogwood flower’s
not a flower, and the lyrebird imitates both cricket and kettle,
then I’ll play all the above: the leaf posing and the flower it surrounds,
the bird and the chirp and the whistle.” In my book I make record
of the Horseshoe bat and her echo, the mute prostitutes
and their twins; the doubled SHHH of aerosol cans set down
among jaw-clicking busboys and faulty kazoos. But the range
of resonance is much too much: each murmur and zing
turns my folio into the tiniest Ark, a mass masquerade
that implodes in an orchestral collapse—

so I un-stitch the spine, sew eight leaves into one,
and deeper than sound could ever dive
I drown my book in its own noise. In my wooden pillow,
the pasture’s all standstill. In my wooden pillow, it’s raining only rain.


Jennifer Moore has poems published or forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, The Volta, Best New Poets, Barrow Street, Columbia Poetry Review and elsewhere, and criticism in Jacket2 and The Offending Adam. She holds degrees from the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois at Chicago, and currently teaches at Ohio Northern University, where she is an assistant professor of creative writing.