The Early Birds

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At dawn they start again, the early birds,
as if they’d left some bitter things unsaid
the day before. The sharp notes rise in thirds.
I wake up knowing that I’ll soon be dead,

and that’s no worse than justice, as is just.
The kindest words are almost never meant.
Most fond endearments fill us with disgust.
To lie is sometimes all too eloquent;

but, as I stumble toward that unknown date,
even the lies may be inadequate.

William Logan's most recent book of essays and reviews, The Undiscovered Country, received the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. His most recent book of poetry is The Whispering Gallery (2005).
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