Birds build their nests from sticks and gobs of gum
in flaking foil, old condom wrappers, pop-
tops, every dime I’ve ever dropped. The sun’s
still sleeping. I am too. But they start up
their favorite predawn song: God-DAMN I’m great
at sex! Woo! I can sing so fucking LOUD!
My snazzy plumage dazzles! Virile! Bright!
For weeks I sneeze more than I breathe. And now
the gutters sluicing, oozing yellow-green,
and bees abuzz, balls-deep in blossoms. Bears
awake and bingeing on fresh trash. You’ve seen
transcendence once, you’ve seen it all. Out there’s
a world of noise and slime. Inside? Just us.
Our winter dreams. Our nobody to touch.
Jonathan “J.G.” McClure holds an MFA from the University of California – Irvine. His poetry and prose appear widely, including in Best New Poets, Gettysburg Review, Green Mountains Review, and The Pinch, among others. He is the author of the poetry collection The Fire Lit & Nearing (Indolent Books 2018) and the translator of Swimming (Valparaíso Edicciones 2019). His work has been nominated for awards and honors including the Pushcart Prize, Best American Essays, and Best of the Net. He is a book reviewer for several journals including Colorado Review and Rain Taxi, and the former Craft Essay Editor and Assistant Poetry Editor of Cleaver Magazine.