Poems by Greg Delanty
A robin bashes his blood-breasted body
against a neighbor’s window pane.
Maybe he sees bird-heaven within; his family
past, present and future: chirpy friends,
mates singing merrily over a feast
of divine cutworms, angelic larvae. Or, he eyes
the Helen, Marilyn Monroe, Sheba, Aphrodite
of robinesses. But the bird-book explains
how the male American robin works himself
into such a territorial frenzy that he’s often seen
attacking his own reflection, convinced his own image
is the enemy. Too easy to turn into allegory.
What’s the substance called, that incognito element in soda and fast food that makes us crave
more? A kind of consumer tapeworm, shades of the stuff of myth, akin to Erysichthon,
who, on hacking sacred trees, is possessed by Hunger, devours all before him till finally
he turns on his own flesh; the Hungry Ghosts, their giraffe necks so narrow they can’t get
enough down to fill their humongous bellies; or that psychedelic vision of the insatiable spirit
lodged in King Cork, eating the province out of house and home. (You may have felt it
yourselves, the growl in the belly). These lesser known gods can’t wait in the wings any
longer, have come into their own. They jostle each other as they take center stage.
Greg Delanty is the author of several books of poetry, including Book Seventeen (Louisiana State University Press, 2015), Loosestrife (Fomite Press, 2011), and The Ship of Birth (Louisiana State University Press, 2007). He is the recipient of the Austin Clarke Award, the Allen Dowling Poetry Fellowship, a Guggenheim Grant, and the Patrick Kavanagh Award, among others. He was the poet in residence at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont.