Barbara Daniels

Barn Swallows

Though I am old
I prepare
to be old, stand
on one foot
as I brush my teeth,
work on balance,

gather books
to reread,
darn my socks,
watch my skin’s
soft collapse,
its texture
slubbed silk.

Deep in wet woods,
I run a few steps
where no one
can see.

When I pass
that sat out the fog
on their fence,
they slip
sideways into air.


The Ring

Open water looks back at me,
reflected sun a hazed eye,
Birds hunch against the cold.

A row of trees, leafless,
implies a lost residence,
the past forfeited—unspoken

apologies, yellowed letters,
ring that fell through a crack
in the floor. Wind numbs

my fingers, chilling blood
that slows and hesitates.
It’s a season of waiting.

A loose V of wild geese
struggles across the sky. Ice
plates the edges of the pond.


Shadows of Trees

Township workers chainsaw trees
by the park’s runoff ponds. Men cut,
chip, dump truckloads of sand,
forming a new little wasteland.

My friend says my phone’s full of photos
of trees because I don’t like people. I love
saucer magnolias, basket oaks, sassafras trees
that drop twisted shadows on snow.

A tall, straight walnut tree
with deep furrowed bark was stolen
from ground outside my window,
wood worth a thousand dollars

to someone, stump still there. I hear
traffic noise, trucks, cars, people
with secrets cutting corners, delivering
packages, breaking wing mirrors

off expensive leased cars. They sing
joyfully, banging steering wheels,
kings and queens of Gloucester Township.
Today I photograph sawtooth oaks,

bristled acorns spilled on a path
where vandals paint slogans and names,
Maple leaves, silvered on their
undersides, tremble like too-slender hands.

© Barbara Daniels

Barbara Daniels’ book Rose Fever: Poems was published by WordTech Press and her chapbooks Black Sails, Quinn & Marie, and Moon Kitchen by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, WomenArts, Mid-American Review, The Literary Review, and many other journals. She has received three Individual Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.