First Date in a Cedar Glade Full of Birds
There’s a quiet circling of turkey
vultures hushed by songs
of mockingbird & cardinal. We stop
to listen to a finch, walk deeper
into the glade, chatter
while red trees creak in the rolling
wind. We read about threatened
species. Only in this shallow
soil & on this fragile
bedrock, grow buttonweed
& meadow garlic. Prairie
weed & the endangered
coneflower. I ask about his largest
tattoo, a dragon big
as a fawn that wraps
to back. He divulges,
“My brother OD’d. I was numb,
but I could feel the blue
ink needle.” He drives me home
in his cargo van, radio
blaring BB King. At home
I research finches & find out
the male sings often
& continuously. While the female
dances he puffs his feathers
like a shirtless Mick
Jagger. If she accepts
she’ll sleep next to him, nest
build & coo. Male & female
are known to sing
the same song — but only
while in flight & only
mating. At midnight my cell
phone buzzes & it’s him. We flirt
until first light.
The title sets the stage for what’s to come…and what a sweet play it is!
So many wonderful elements in this. I especially love how you glide between moments, such as this one —
“radio / blaring BB King. At home / I research finches & find out / the male sings often / during courtship …” There’s a innocence and tenderness here that’s very pleasing to my ear.
especially love the surprise ending after such detailed exposition. didn’t know the coneflower tat I’m used to seeing along the highway is endangered
Gaby, I can shed a little light here. The echinacea tenneseensis was discovered in the cedar glades near Nashville and is a 20th century botanical story. It has been propagated successfully and was removed from the endangered list in 2011.
Well there you go with your smart self. The date happened a little bit before that I think.
Did you know that the coneflower is the official flower of Lexington?
No. Fasincating. I don’t reckon it’s so endangered but I think in some places it is.
Wonderful. And now I know a little more about my favorite lovebirds.
Linda I love this poem, there is so much here, just like the glades. I want to read it again and again as the little thoughts bloom in the cracks of it.
What a splendid ode to a memorable day, and to our friends, the finches!
each line break
(oops) adds so much
I’m using that 😀
” each line break
adds so much.”
Look a shiney thing! LoL
weed and endangered yes!!
This is wonderful- I love it all, Even the line breaks are amazing!
he puffs his feathers
like a shirtless Mick
Jagger. Can’t resist a line like that!
Beautiful poem of birds, silences, and songs. You are at your peak this year!
Eep! I’d missed this one til you referenced it on today’s post!
Love the way you wind the day’s narrative around the tattoo, and draw parallels between the birds and the two of you!
Oh, I *love* this! The way you weave the research into this experience is incredible!
I too love this. It’s narrative & lyrical. I especially liked the line breaks and all they add!