Maurice Manning

The Latch
March 25, 2022 Manning Maurice

The Latch

One sound, the click of the latch on the gate,
is like the clap or the slighter slap
of a hand against a thigh to declare
someone who needs to clear his head
is leaving.  The smitten wren chatters
as I walk through rain into the woods,
the hillside choir-loft,
where soon I see in silhouette
another bird bobbing like
a cork on the upper branch of a tree
in perfect rhythm with the rain.
Shouldn’t I, in the gaze of silver droplets
clinging to black branches, follow
the sky and lay my burden down
on the ground below these open rafters?
Again I’ve gone to hear the song
of mercy and here it is, the resound
of higher voices, note by note,
and I look up to see the score
of the sky is plainly open and I,
a wanderer, have entered the song,
and must be singing, too.

Maurice Manning’s most recent book is Railsplitter.  He lives with his family in Kentucky.