Summer birds fly to our bird feeders: American goldfinch, rose-breasted grosbeak,
chickadee, American sparrow.
The goldfinch visit the feeders most often. The vibrant male approaches first while the
softer yellow-green female watches from the nearby locust branch. Then she joins him on
the alternate perch. He has zigzagged through the meadow for her and here they are.
As I regard the meadow from the porch swing, all these birds fly singly or in groups
at all heights. Above our heads, at eye level, near our waists, below our knees,
near the ground.
Some fly a straight line, others form scallops in the air from tree to tree.
Here, our summer farm, where no one stays long but birds and animals, no interference.
The birds are free to follow their whims and fancies. We feed and watch.
On our day of departure, the male and female goldfinch follow me to the meadow. Fly
around my head three times, as if to say, “You will remember us.”
Walking The Labyrinth
You were a caged Theseus.
You paced in a pressed, white dress shirt
our last night. You noticed me after
I dropped my amethyst brooch
down the sink. We had to call
the super to fish it out.
I watched your long back for hours,
hunched, an animal trapped
in the center of a labyrinth.
You thought it was a maze.
I knew the way out, held the spool,
though knew, for you,
we had run out of thread.
You left me with passions
I could not grasp
or sort, bunched up like
wadded paper. It took years
to unwrap them, let the air
open them up.
You returned to your other goddess,
made boy babies, who like
Hippolytus torture you now.
You became famous. Days named
for you in New York towns.
At night you retire to your wine,
your new story,
your script, your new assistant.
You sleep three hours then start
all over again.
You have remodeled
your New York maze
in which you are trapped,
you hope, immortal.
© Donna L. Emerson
Donna L. Emerson‘s work has received numerous prizes and awards including Editor’s Choice in the 2017 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and honorable mention in the 2015 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, two nominations for the Pushcart Prize (2013, 2019), and Best of the Net (2012). Her second chapbook, Body Rhymes (2009), was nominated for a California Book Award, and her third and fourth chapbooks, Wild Mercy (2011) and Following Hay (2013), have been published by Finishing Line Press.