Some would take more
If they could.
Give and it’s gone
Forever. Click of
A little iron wheel.
The trick is
When you’re ready
To fork over what is
Rightfully someone’s
Knowing whose is
An art.
The usurpation
The land grant
The good deal
Draft choices to be
Named later
Like anything
You could not read
Do not act
Do not pretend
Four hundred years
Later to find the tree
Where they found you.

Cats in the Yard

This summer the birds look awful
Like they’ve been starving in Honduras
And no one’s offered much help.
No rain, no worms, the birds look
Matted, ragged, unbathed. Even
The crows are quiet, and hack at
Twigs and weeds and break rocks
On peanut shells. Birds everyone
Knows, robins, jays, woodpeckers,
Towhees, nuthatches, cardinal and
His missus, they convene in ornithic
Faith, they will not hate me but sense
Someday I will plenish the feeders out
Of choice and kindness, The catbird
Seems to be the winner this summer,
Studious and steady in slow heat,
Bridging sky and ground, glad that local
Cats know where raw meat is, that catbird
Is trefe. In this dry summer of sand, sun
Flake, and grease, rain ten inches down,
Who says cats are stupid?
They may even be generous,
Knowing the birds totter.
If there were cats in the yard,
They would be scabs, the unclean,
The morons of feline ethics. The only
Cat I’ve seen all summer pawed around
The osage tree, covered his dirt, and looked
Up to see if anyone was interested in what
He had to offer.

The Four He Knew

By chance
I sat on a plane
Next to one of
My favorite authors.

What could I say?
This, that, try and
Knock the peanuts,
Squirm a bit.

Somehow we got
About plant enzymes:

Gibberellins, ethylene,
Cytokinins, abscissic acid,

What they did,
Who needed them.

Of course, I had
To be the big shot
And name all five.
My row-mate, one of

My favorite authors,
Hadn’t heard of abscissic acid.

You know.

© Michael Taylor

Bio: Michael Taylor lives in Asheville, North Carolina. He has worked as a science teacher, chef, journalist, and hose-clamp wrench maker. Besides poetry, Michael believes in the creative powers of the guitar, theater, fiction, art, and food. He studied creative writing at the University of Arkansas, from which he received his master’s. At present he feels rootless but senses that could be a good thing.