A Death in June

On PBS this evening, an actor, Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges,
says he watched birds—various species—and newborns

to affect the nascent wonderment of the alien in
He explains that movements and vocalizations evolved

the behaviors of the inhabitants of Planet Earth
followed by improvisational, trial-and-error mimicry.

His stammering starman thundered to ground in Wisconsin
and so asks why we strap dead animals to the hoods of cars.

He then reanimates the carcass, insisting some customs
need not exist. I thought of the suicide of a friend—

I’m told he dragged a borrowed stepladder into a thicket.
After entering the undergrowth, he may have chuckled

at some cosmic signage declaring his luck to be ending
surrounded by the unambiguous scent of honeysuckle.

I’m not sure the equinoctial nature of flowers applies
or if the helix of the DNA ladder is really regret

woven in and through darknesses in each of us.
I do know the friend who discovered him too late

carries, as memory, the expression of the face
and that he used an orange-colored rope.

About the Author:
Roy Bentley has received fellowships from the NEA, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Ohio Arts Council. Poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Pleiades, Blackbird, North American Review, Prairie Schooner and elsewhere. Books include Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama, 1986), Any One Man (Bottom Dog, 1992), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine, 2006), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House 2013). He has taught creative writing and composition at universities and colleges throughout the Midwest and in south Florida. These days, he teaches at Georgian Court University and lives in Barnegat, New Jersey with his wife Gloria.