To Some House Finches

 

You were all about on the bare ground

parsing litter from a naked and spidery tupelo

in the last cold light of day in the backyard.

 

I’d forgotten or was too lazy to spread some seed

that morning, so maybe you’d come back at the end

of a long day’s searching to make one last go of it.

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What it Means

 

The poem tells you what it means

if for instance you drove all the way to buy

a lottery ticket on the California border

because hey you never know about these things,

but there’s a line because nobody’s won yet,

and now the payout is over a billion dollars—

imagine what you could buy with that.

You have to remember you’re at the age

when you’ve started to feel as though

you might’ve missed out on something.

Whatever it is, a billion dollars should cover it

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To Varying Degrees

 

Values are different things than their situations.

It’s a different thing to say Killing is Wrong

than it is to say Thou Shalt Not Kill.

The former is a principle, and principles never

in principle, apply to any specific situation.

Which doesn’t make killing wrong in principle

because really, it depends on the situation.

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