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.