Crumbs Fit Such Little Mouths by Michael Robins


Up I raise a fence inside my fence to keep out
obviousness, canned ideas kit & caboodle,
everything an end. Remind me, remind me

to face forward, expecting petals, tenuous stem
misconstrued & likewise me a poor listener,
wheeled color when a face could stay. I flunk

knowledge for the deer or goose, miniature
buffalo gnawing the prairie of a yard but I love
cardinals & my boy walloping the red ball

despite his oath to sparrows, every night
trilling toward dawn. He likes what he likes
& feeds his toast to dogs, every which way

dropping notions, the hammock with another
name on it, pairs of forty-year-old trees
wrestled to the ground. I’m starting to think

it’s no big deal, it’s no big deal, it’s no big deal
resisting gateway drugs of the self, drifted
from a land of indie rock music. Over its stage

shines a light, twists a spangle. Like my boy,
I shriek as the new teeth arrive, endear people
& drag red chairs across the lawn. If you try

leaning forward or even back enough away
then you starve, much too nervy for the worm,
too proud to see the clouded ceiling budged

& bulging for the cosmic weight. My brain
shutters when I wish the swinging flashed,
its robin finally free. I’d whistle song for a lark,

little frost, drops of mystery, other candor
not necessarily courage. First the scruple
& then the deferral, no more a perfect place

to start again. I trust the signal turns green
or a red hand willingly vanishes so the crossing
offers its figure, anyone, midstride & ignited.


Michael Robins is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently In Memory of Brilliance & Value (Saturnalia Books, 2015). He teaches literature and creative writing at Columbia College Chicago. For more information, visit