Like the cedar waxwings passing sweet meat
to one another in the choke cherry, their bodies
ghosted brown as if they might dissolve
in the yellow air, or are dissolving now.
Or the purpling blushed arrival of the male house finch
on the long arm of the feeder, until she plain,
brown, thin alights. They sit as a pair for only
the time it takes to settle her wings, and then he's off.
All day, light makes shadows out of loveliness.
* * *
In the silver birch, a hundred greens shudder, dither
in the risen wind against savage blue.
All the afternoons, nights, lost
trying to recover what was lost long before:
vireo in the high black locust. Wings
of the robin we once thought plain,
close up now translucent, polychrome,
crashed from our glass, the small, hollow bones,
and the eye's stunned, blind gaze.
Copyright © 2003
Jillian Barnet's poetry has appeared in Nimrod, Karamu, Bellingham Review, and elsewhere. She has written book reviews for Calyx and Café Review. Jillian works as a technical writer for business and industry and as a professor of creative and business writing at Chatham College. She received her MFA from Vermont College.
Contents Next Poem Guidelines