Imprint of Bird on Window, Dream in Parking Lot Rain, First Blossom, Fourth Floor Convention Center

Imprint of Bird on Window

one robin crashed
against a rainbow
finger painted
on the sliding glass door

the bird slammed back
from plate glass
to collapse sideways

on my grey deck
with heave and pulse
of gentle breath
the stillness laid

in mid-day
I considered offering
a dropper of water

but stared from the edge
of the doorway
immobile as the trunk
of the evergreen tree

from where that thrush had flown
I scanned to see no squirrel
no crow no cat advance

the ticking of each breath
within our chests
hovered –
the robin rallied

leaving me still
gasping for air

to fill its lungs

as with my children –
it flew off
in a bold arc
Dream in Parking Lot Rain

A boat without oars waits at the end of a tunnel.
My car keys keep falling overboard, and the photo
on my ID is of a much younger woman.
She keeps asking for directions
and I’m not even listening.
Tattoos of wooden horses gallop in circles past
so fast I am rafting rapids in a warm river.
Rain carries bits of asphalt and uncooked pinto beans.
I swell in summer, rise to the surface,
watch myself listen to rhythms
of water drops connect as they become river.
First Blossom

Our son is known
          for his climbing rose tattoos.

I don’t think I could
          endure the thorns–

instead envision sprigs of lilacs
          reaching from my scapula

up to the wide ridge
          where the weight of his baby carrier

used to cut
           into my shoulder.
Fourth Floor Convention Center 

Looking out the arena wall of windows,
I sit swirling morning tea before a stand of trees
as if I had perched midway on a mountain side
viewing a forest rooted down below at trail head.
We have landscape architects to thank 
for the droopy arms of evergreens 
that divert us from the rushing freeway view.
Industrial cranes angle up toward heaven
as seagulls sail between skyscraper shades of gray
and I am unable to channel synapses 
into a landscape of tree names 
befitting a proper Northwest hiker.

Just the other morning, I tested a teenage boy
whose disabilities would break a mother‘s heart.
It was his turn to name a myriad of pictures
so that I could speculate on his vocabulary level. 
One word he said I didn’t understand.
Perhaps it was a word from his mother’s native Korean.
He repeated the word for several different items:
     –	fura for tree, 
     –	fura for flower,
     –	fura for leaf. 
It dawned on me he had called each one an English forest.
He stood on the duff floor 
as children throughout ages start to learn by simplifying
just as I am doing now 
swirling names of trees into tea leaves.

Mary Ellen Talley’s poems have recently been published in literary journals including Gyroscope, Raven Chronicles, The Plague Papers, and Banshee as well as in several anthologies. Her work has received three Pushcart nominations. Her chapbook, Postcards from the Lilac City, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2020. She worked with words and children for many years as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) in Seattle public schools. Her son is a tattoo artist and her daughter is a photographer.

“Imprint of Bird on Window” was originally published in Lummox Anthology #Three.

“Dream in Parking Lot Rain” was originally published in Chariton Review.

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