Summer Song — A Poem

Wreath my hair in butterflies,

let wildflowers garland my throat,

weave green-gold grasses

about my wrists,

and place birdsong

in my heart.

Read to me the Moonbeam tome,

let fireflies light my path,

recite to me in crickets’ chant,

and stitch starlight

as my wrap.

For my tongue tastes of switch grass

and falling leaves,

my foxfire smile has dimmed —

I watch the days so lightly pass,

and hear Autumn

in Summer’s breeze.


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“Summer Butterflies” — C.Birde

Fifi — A Dream

I travel with my husband — lightly, messily, with dusty backpacks and worn duffels. Evening approaches. We move through stone-strewn, uneven terrain, through bent and scrawny trees. Dry leaves crunch and rasp underfoot. Soon, the long, low forlorn cabin recedes behind us, swallowed by shadow. Let the spiders take it, and spin their webs amongst the torn screens and sway-backed roof.

Ahead, another cabin — smaller, squatter, in similar disrepair. Within is as shabby as without — buckled linoleum floor, faux paneled walls. High up, where two walls meet with the ceiling to form a gray corner, a small black and white television plays a looped film detailing the questionable history of the camp and cabins we have evidently entered. My husband and I sit shoulder to shoulder on a sagging couch. The glass-topped coffee table jutting against our shins holds evidence that others have been here — a half-filled ashtray, a yellowed newspaper.

All the while, I’ve been carrying with me a bedraggled little once-white dog. Where it still has fur, the tendrils are snarled, tangled with knots. At times, the dog’s appearance shifts to that of a doll with a soft, cloth body and plastic head and limbs. It morphs between these two shapes, seemingly at will — always wearing its patchy, wild hair. In either form, it is capable of human speech and says terrible things — how it will get me, kill me, with explicit details. For the most part, I am unphased — it is so small and feeble (and, at times, incapable of any voluntary movement) that it isn’t the least bit threatening. When I tire of its unsettling monologue, I rap my knuckles soundly against its little canine head, or knock its crazy-haired doll head against any nearby hard surface. Each knock renders it speechless for a short time.

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“Fifi” — C.Birde

Absence — A Poem

Random thoughts hunch and gather,

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“Tracery” — C.Birde

pass through that fertile landscape,

scatter their haphazard seed

till the fibers of mood and mind

are tugged and pulled and spun —

a web that catches

and vibrates of its own accord.

The hint of Autumn’s sun in August,

blue shadows lengthen,

the time of absence marked.

Grasp at symbol —

faint strain of music,

laughter and conversation;

Don the fetishes —

silver crescent and

cutwork whorls;

Ward against the hollow

and magnify escaping light.


Take a Deep Breath — A Dream

He said that he would follow, that he was right behind me. Now, I stand in the galleried section of a large interior space, while he remains below — I can see him, moving between rows of parked cars with that canvas backpack a peculiar khaki lump strapped against his spine. But he does not follow me, and never intended to — this is evident after the blast. So thunderously loud, it shakes the structure’s foundations, unhinges the roof above the parking lot so thoroughly it crashes down with a great whump on all beneath it — cars, trucks, him. All is compressed in an arch of sound, of flying debris, dust, ash.

Silence settles. Outside, beyond panoramic windows, the scene is pastoral, unaffected — sweeping lawns of bright green; wide blue skies and luminous white clouds. Inside, destruction. And though I am safe, my son is on the other side of this complex, separated from me by the collapsed parking deck. I need to get to him, to be sure of his safety. The only way to do so is treacherous — I must pass through a compressed, elastic tunnel. It is banded with silver support rings, will expand to permit my passage and extend as necessary to transport me geographically. The difficulty is that I must not breathe while within, or I will be crushed.

Inhale, fill the lungs, draw the breath deep into both lobes. I step up to the tunnel — a flat vertical disk suspended mid-air and filled with concentric circles. It gives at my touch like a membrane, envelopes and swallows me whole. The tunnel contracts around me, completely, painfully, then I am out the other side. Great, desperate gulps of air. Another tunnel. Inhale deeply. Enter.

On the other side night has fallen. The darkened, grassy expanse spreads out in all directions. I huddle within a canvas tent with a small group of others. We warm our hands over a bright fire. Shadows move erratically over the tent walls, shifting, hurrying. Beyond the tent’s thin canvas — noises…furtive, stealthy, hungry. I lift a corner of the tent, see the circling wolves, their heads low, eyes reflecting gathered light. Quickly, I drop the flap.

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“Deep Breath” — C.Birde

Sky Blue Sky — A Truth

The color of truth and loyalty,

of music and despair,

of cool shadow and faded jeans.

The color of periwinkles and forget-me-nots,

of jays and buntings,

of whales and damselflies.

The color of my mother’s eyes.

The color of topaz and tourmalines,

of the trapped hearts of glaciers,

of the birdbath beneath the maple.

The color of ink and smoke,

of Persians and water,

of the singular month’s twice full moon.

The color of this morning’s uninterrupted

Summer sky stretched overhead

like a promise.


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“Sky Blue Sky” — C.Birde

Hummingbird — A Truth Embellished

Weeding, uprooting the undesired, collecting their bruised green bodies in one fisted mass, transferring them to the bin.

Pausing on the stream of bricks, eyes slowly tracking rightward to glimpse, just paces away, beneath the half-laden arch —

Little faerie spirit, little winged soul, dressed in a gown of moss and cobwebs,

Sipping from the slender red tubes of native honeysuckle, hovering before each in turn,

Wings a smudged vapor of motion.

She turns mid-air, pauses and flits closer,


A mere pace away,

Entranced, we face each other…

She reaches into an elfin pocket,

Withdraws a miniaturizing glass to view me,

the Giantess.


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“Hummingbird” — C.Birde

Time of Dragonflies — A Dream

He is unlike the others. Whereas they have been tall and thin as reeds, pale-skinned and dark-haired, cool bordering on frosty, and always, always observing with disapproving judgment, this one is gregarious, interested, and full of humor. His skin is warm with captured sunlight, and his brown hair and neat beard and mustache reflect, too, time spent out-of-doors. He is shorter than they have been (though taller than I); his shoulders are broad from use, though he is somewhat softer of flesh.

The evening slides with shadow. Arms crossed over his chest, he leans against a tree in these woods where I work within a small section of kitchen fitted seamlessly into the arboreal landscape — one wall, a pool of linoleum floor. China dishes flash bright as moonlight as I remove them from the breakfront, stack them carefully into cardboard boxes. And he leans and watches my progress, and he talks — he finished the cabinet at last, though it took much longer than expected. The inlays had been intricate, complex; the spindles and turned legs delicate. Packing the cabinet for shipment had taken additional time and care. He had feared his return here, to me, would not coincide with the time of dragonflies, is pleased to find otherwise. At this last observation, I pause to glance about me with surprise and delight — the dragonflies are everywhere. They dart and hover within the bowl of night, iridescent wings glancing brightly. I am haloed with their movements; they rest on my hair and shoulders.

Now, he makes simple statements — “I like this”, “I like that”. My flat response to each of his utterances affirms my agreement, though I keep unshelving the China, continue to pack and stack it, confine it to cardboard. Until he utters his last adoration — and I turn excitedly, my skirts swirling and licking about my ankles — “So do I!!!”

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“Dragonfly” — C.Birde