Letter to Audubon from St. Francis

As you read these words, I lie lynx-like. I lie lynx-like
in prairie sage, in a phase of abstinence. The yelp
I trust is periodic; I have it from the mouth
of an honest woodcock. A wild idea, or so
it seems, to let go of venery. For all my lithe, I am not
averse to buds, the spice bush; the tongue, per se, by which
I forage is a nuisance. It melts. Becomes earmarked.
In its stead, I self-devour. Take myself down at a dead
reckoning. Cry wolf, eat crow, play cat. Should I run
blind like a covey of partridges, pre-flight, or the bittern
as it stows away, what doubtable lux would yet appear
that your lips intuit? Good-natured owls resurrect
the biddable mouse. I preach the gospel everywhere.

L.S. Klatt teaches English at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Image: Saint Francis in the Desert Giovanni Bellini, c. 1480, public domain, Frick Collection