Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

The Cure

Bruce Meyer

Tapping in the high branches of our oak
woke me early and I got out of bed
to see who broke a town ordinance
and started work before sunrise.

A black and white woodpecker
was feasting on moth eggs.

The moths were bad this year,
and next year could be worse,
though the sound reminded me
of television footage –
miners trapped a mile underground
and all that saved them was incessant tapping,
the desire to be heard, their hands bloodied
clutching jagged stones.

Everything hungers for a second chance:
moths laid eggs in clusters on the trees,
birds fattened from eating their fill,
and storms that filled last summer’s skies
I’m certain were the same ones that rained this year.

Perhaps the wise rise early,
lead long lives,
learn from the study of living life,
no matter how difficult it is,
and are always first to greet the sun.

This is what wisdom says,
and I picture an ancient temple scribe
lying on a bier as his life ebbs out,
opening his eyes because he knows at last
what cures the world of all its pains
and doesn’t have the strength to explain.


Bruce Meyer is the author of 64 books of poetry, short stories, flash fiction, and non-fiction. His most recent collection of poems is McLuhan’s Canary (Guernica Editions, 2019), and his next book of poems is currently the project for the University of Windsor Publishing Practicum and will be published by Black Moss Press in 2021. He lives in Barrie, Ontario, with his wife and daughter.