“Woodpecker Song” by Seth Michelson


Woodpecker Song

The rain pained him today,
each drop a burning grievance,
conjoining to tell a story
the way a tattoo transforms a shoulder:
everywhere stinging with a new vista
painted in a million pinpricks —
Was this the agony of the pine trees,
why they wept sap and shed leaves
whenever a woodpecker
set to work in all his famished need?

Seth Michelson

Seth Michelson is an award-winning poet, translator, and professor. He has published fifteen collections of poetry and poetry in translation, with his most recent book of original poetry being Swimming Through Fire (Press 53, 2017), and his most recent book of poetry in translation being Scripted in the Streams (Poetrywala, 2017), by the Indian poet Rati Saxena. He also is the editor and translator of the bilingual poetry anthology, Dreaming America: Voices of Undocumented Youth in Maximum-Security Detention (Settlement House, 2017). It features writing from a poetry workshop that he has been leading for the past three years in the most restrictive maximum-security facility in the U.S. for undocumented, unaccompanied youth, and all proceeds from its sale go to a legal defense fund for the children. He also teaches the poetry of the Americas at Washington and Lee University.

Photo Credit: Staff