Thursday, March 15, 2018

Three Poems by Kelley White

All of the Trees are Broken

 You think the mourning dove's coo
is an owl calling from dark blossoms
or the insect sound that rises from blossom,
or the sound of a dozen robins scattered
into branches around the pond.

In its darkness, insect sound rises brief
above into pale evening light, racket
of bats settling into another bowl
of night.  Creaking sticks with pinecones.

After three months the broken tree
still has green leaves.  A mourning dove
blows a single note across a green glass bottle,
the voice of a flute, one note:
frozen trees, remember to dance.

An Unrooted Tree Dances Upon Stones

This tree rises on its roots like a singing bird.
Last year I spoke here to the young owls.
They cried for food.  I offered them a bowl of small fishes.
Ah frozen dancing trees, will you remember to dress in leaves?

Here is a single new pinecone.  Here are sticks
that blossom.  Here a thousand thousand leaves.
All of the days are cold.  I wear my cloak of skunks,
of chipmunk, of foxes, of owls.  The sky grays.

A heavy whine.  That is just a mourning dove.
Why did the birches fall so uniformly?
What wind?  What ice?  What snow?  So many have prepared
bonfires of sticks.  Like a stinging moth.  Nothing

lives here.  Moss.  Lichen.  Stone.  Stone.  Stone.  Leaf.
Bracket fungus.  I nearly fall.  Slip on dead leaves.  A ladder.
Divisions of stone.  More holes drilled to fresh wood.
Why have the owls abandoned their perfect tree?

In Praise of the First Runner Up for Mr. National Bird

How can I fail to admire an animal
who shakes his tail and struts
with his flaming red neck
while the females peck in the mud--

Wild Tom Turkey on the first day of spring
stands in the middle of the road
daring down cars and calling to his harem.

Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire.  Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle, and JAMA.  Her recent books are TOXIC ENVIRONMENT (Boston Poet Press) and TWO BIRDS IN FLAME  (Beech River Books).  She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

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