Daniel Bourne



Epistemology: A Dramatic Monologue in Two Voices

We’re all at the mercy of our sources. We see
the dog bite the cat but don’t realize he only
did it to save the bird with the worm in its mouth.

(Right now, as you read my latest words to you,
why aren’t you already standing? Put on your coat,
drive to the nearest church or war and sacrifice

everything you can. I am either God or
I am not.) At night, the jealous voice inside the
pillow. The canary singing in the cave-in

of family. The farewell note on the table
smeared by a dirty rag. (I am the little bird
whispering to your fingers fighting with the blade.)


Daniel Bourne’s poems have appeared in GuernicaPloughshares, Plume, American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, ShenandoahSalmagundi, Quarterly West, whimperbang and elsewhere. His books include The Household Gods, Where No One Spoke the Language, and a collection of translations of Polish political poet Tomasz Jastrun, On the Crossroads of Asia and Europe. Until his retirement in May 2020, he taught in English and Environmental Studies at The College of Wooster in NE Ohio, where he continues to edit Artful Dodge. Since 1980 he has lived in Poland off and on, including from July 2013 till January 2014 for some collaborative projects with Polish poets and visual artists involving the environment as well as back in 1985-87 on a Fulbright fellowship for the translation of younger Polish poets. His translations of Polish poets have appeared widely, including in such journals as Colorado Review, Partisan Review, Salmagundi, Prairie Schooner, Plume, and Virginia Quarterly Review.