Paloma in the City: NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 22

She pieces the morning together,
this pigeon; I hear her beak
clack against the sidewalk
outside the city college
each time she tries to burst
a brittle plastic wrapper that holds
a few small crumbs of something.
I double back and offer her
a bit of crust from the leftover pizza
that I’ve brought for lunch.
And I wonder a few things:
If anyone saw, if I’m now part of
the Urban Pigeon Feeding Problem,
if I’m bound to get a ticket,
and also if it was best
to fill her stomach with dough.
But I gave her something—
what I had—and she seems
glad to take it, shaking free
one bite at a time as people
weave around her work.
The next day, I’ll recall
a drink I once had in Mexico:
tequila and grapefruit soda.


He Pierces the Morning with Fresh Urgency: April 2015 PAD Chapbook Challenge

In our courtyard,
in the tortured and trimmed
hawthorn tree, whose blossoms
send their stink into our front window
every early June,
a male cardinal puffs himself up
in a topmost branch
and sings so loudly,
so persistently,
that I worry that he’s calling
for his lost mate.
So often, you see them
first one and then the other;
when you spot the flash of red,
you know to look also for rosy brown,
winter, spring, summer, or fall.
And now there is only red,
and he pierces the morning with
fresh urgency.
Maybe it’s only an announcement:
This is my tree.
But then, where is she?
Maybe in the bushes below.
Maybe waiting until I go away,
until I stop watching and listening
for the answer to his call.


Winter’s Wing

Speaking of travel and snowy owls,
white wings of this weather,
the dishwater sky awaiting heavier
clouds than these, another round
of snow; we are pulled into
the polar vortex again and again.
It’s because we’re heating the seas,
making soup out of creatures
we have no interest in eating.
Still, there’s something about
winter again, the real winter,
how it puts you someplace else,
like the inside of a closet, muffled
and warm when your parents are
having a party, and you are a child.
The laughter and the clink of ice,
present, distant. It’s like that,
under winter’s wing—your blood
thick and quiet, hungry for meat.



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My Feather Road, for Open Link Night

My Feather Road

I mainline birds
until I can’t stop
fluttering; there is

a nonstop stream
under every word
I say. I am learning

to drive this car
made of wings,
lurching down

a street of strewn
feathers. Your car
made of stars can’t

drive my feather road.
Greater love affairs
than ours have ended

over smaller things
than this: certain
blocked exits, gaps

of little consequence
that somehow come
to mean everything.




For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.


Back Porch, for Open Link Night

Back Porch

In this place of breezes
and naps, the spot where
birds begin, nothing can be
wrong, not when power
scampers harmlessly
through the line

and the cardinal
sharps out his message
about finding food,
protecting children.

His song pervades
everything; all the
leaves turn over
once, twice,

as our beach towels
flap where we draped
them, out here where
the phone doesn’t ring.



For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets.