Bird Watching by Maureen Fielding

BIRD WATCHING

In my mother’s garden
amid the blue hydrangeas,
begonias and hibiscus blooms,
a red-headed finch sits atop the fence,
nervously eyeing the feeder.

Prodding hungry stomach,
tiny internal debate—
last doubts extinguished,
fears overcome,
he flutters from fence to feeder,
hurriedly, blissfully
guzzles the seed provided with love,
always aware
that his quiet meal
may be jarringly interrupted,
that the same hand that pours the seed
and fills the bath
is the same that flings open the doors
and shatters the moments of silence, safety, sustenance.

For sometimes my mother stands
entranced at the window,
tuned to the finch’s fragile courage.
At other times
her world is devoid of finches.
She tramps loud and heavy
on the hearts of all.

*

Maureen Fielding is an associate professor of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State Brandywine. Her work has appeared in Westview, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Marathon Literary Review, WLA, and other journals. She has taught English in South Korea and is currently working on a chapbook based on research conducted in South Korea about Japanese Militarized Sexual Slavery. She has also written a novel inspired by her experiences as a Russian intercept operator in West Berlin during the Cold War.

Treescape by Amy Barone

Treescape

A peephole to the world outside
reveals shades of green,
brilliant budding leaves.

The collage of trees shines
on a pink Japanese maple
as big crows probe a patch of dirt.

Mockingbirds aren’t chirping;
they’re belting out arias—so much to say
after their winter isolation.

I invited the morning shower
to wash away the cold,
help a heartier spring take root.

Rain made it easier to stay inside
and while away another Sunday.

*

Amy Barone’s latest poetry collection, We Became Summer, from New York Quarterly Books, was released in 2018. She wrote chapbooks Kamikaze Dance (Finishing Line Press) and Views from the Driveway (Foothills Publishing.) Barone belongs to the Poetry Society of America and the brevitas online poetry community. She lives in NYC.

Two poems by Nicole Caruso Garcia

Sijo for Two Sparrows

Two sparrows are beak-deep in
        tire-flattened rest stop French fries,
more or less content to peck
        an ecstasy of sun-warmed trash
here beside the Jersey Turnpike,
        when they could fly anywhere.

*

What Were You Wearing?

Because the body is a temple,
I wore the wakeful song of birds,
Lay safe beside my lover, still.

Because the body is a temple,
When he trespassed like a vandal,
I had no robe but words.

Because the body is a temple,
I wore the wakeful song of birds.

*

Nicole Caruso Garcia is Associate Poetry Editor at Able Muse and a Board member at Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference. Her poems appear in Crab Orchard Review, DIAGRAM, Light, Measure, Mezzo Cammin, PANK, Plume, The Raintown Review, Rattle, RHINO, Sonora Review, Spillway, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. Visit her at nicolecarusogarcia.com.

Two Poems by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Ode to the Bic Lighter

My first lighter I found in a parking lot—
a smooth red plastic tube that fit
in my pocket. I knew playing with fire
was dangerous. I knew I wanted
to learn how. I remember trying again
and again to get the right purchase
with my thumb on the serrated sparkwheel.
I rolled and rolled until my skin was raw,
until at last the brief flame sputtered then died.
It wasn’t long before it came second nature—
the smooth flick needed to produce a spark,
the slight pressure on the red tongue
to maintain steady flame.
I learned how it burns
to be lit up too long,
but once you know how to make light,
how easy it is to bring it with you
everywhere you go.

*

Small Hope

Nudged by hope
the heart rises
from exhaustion.

It’s like the great blue heron
I saw this morning
flying up from a wasteland

on broad gray wings
with strong, slow beats
for a moment charged

with grace
before—did you
see this, heart?—

it chose to land again,
bringing all its beauty
to the desolate place.

*

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer co-hosts Emerging Form, a podcast on creative process. She also co-hosts Telluride’s Talking Gourds Poetry Club and is co-founder of Secret Agents of Change. She teaches poetry for mindfulness retreats, women’s retreats, scientists, hospice and more. Her poetry has appeared in O Magazine, on A Prairie Home Companion, in Rattle.com and in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. Her most recent collection, Hush, won the Halcyon Prize. She is often found in the kitchen baking with her teenage children. One word mantra: Adjust. https://wordwoman.com/