I D K     I S S U E     5


jacob boyd

Three Movements for Strays

I. A Cloud Forest, Strangest of Theatres, Costa Rica

Someone speaking Nynorsk in the kitchen. Eggs sizzling.
Howler monkeys chuffing in the distance.

The paws of leaves do not fret, but frisk
the sometimes sunlit hostel windows.

Stick insects tour the fig trees, swaying.
Out of clockwork mists,

a blue-crowned mot-mot, a blue morpho butterfly.
Out from their home’s long hollow, a band of brown coatis.

And now the soloist, frail as the ass-end of morning,
stray of a hundred names, canine alien

whom we call Chunches, meaning trinkets,
trash, a passing fancy: Chunches,

bedraggled by mist, lifts his leg, marks,
plucks himself from the curb and the loose-knit

pack, curls up and accepts—
through the hammock’s netting—a scratch.

II. Equilibrium in Santa Teresa

Whether waking in a foreign country
or returning to a market
after years in a monastery,
the dream of separateness
dissipates. We lie together, listening
for differences, but morning makes
its same music. A chainsaw
whirring beyond a ridge:
the now-dead neighbor’s mower.
A palm-fringed blue cove
lapping at the foot
of a farm-graced slope:
a lost cassette tape looping
the recorded crash of ocean waves.
The rain: some other, earlier rain.

A solitary cow, la vaca
the root means ‘to empty,’
as in the milk is ready—
grazes, shoulder-deep, shaded
by a gumbo-limbo tree. She
softly lashes her brush-tipped tail.
Pale and ghostly, lean and muscular,
anvil-shaped shoulders, a dewlap sweetly
swinging from her pendulous throat.
Only by acknowledging her passing
massiveness do we make our way
to the fence, where she welcomes us,
as in a two-windowed room
light returns to light.

III. From Waukesha to Santa Elena and Back

Why move at all? Why call
a dog you know you’ll miss?
Or wade uphill to clay
cathedrals, as if adobe bears
a different god than brick?

If the two plaster toucans
in shards on the sidewalk
might could fly backwards
to the table of knickknacks,
you’d stay gone and not glue

this winter the chintziest birds
you never hoped to buy,
and no spider would ever
crawl out of the coffeemaker,
nor mold grow on the grounds.

You bore, you brick, you god.
Estos son dañados. ¿Cuanto
Square up
the shards and dust the
blushed lime wings and beak.


Jacob Boyd teaches English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he recently graduated from the PhD Program for Writers. He is the author of Stilt House, selected by Heather McHugh as the winner of the 2018 Emrys Press Chapbook Award. Poems of his have appeared in Blackbird, Copper Nickel, Crab Orchard Review, Fiddlehead, North America Review, and elsewhere.