The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Carol Berg’s “The Ornithologist Poems”

Carol reading

The Ornithologist Becomes Blind To Birds

At the owl exhibit with her son she stares at the wooden cages.
The trainer grips a leash and tugs and nothing

comes out and flaps its wings—although the leash
flutters up to the air and all around her clap.

She strains to hear the Saw-Whet’s owl’s beak as it snaps
at the trainer’s hand to move away. Once outside, the trees

seem strangely relieved as if their branches are lighter. The sky
with only a small snarl of clouds for movement. She watches

the hummingbird feeder red motionless disc for hours. Soon no one speaks
of birds, no one mentions the tufted tit mice or the Baltimore Oriole.

Her binoculars whimper in their case. Bird books disappear.
She begin pulling off the wings of dead moths. Starts sewing

them together with white cotton thread. Practices a complicated
pattern of flight with the palms of her hands.

Each day the sharp needle slides into and out of her slip-through skin
as she stitches the significant wings onto her happy back.

This selection comes from Carol Berg’s chapbook The Ornithologist Poems, available now from Dancing Girl Press. Purchase your copy here!

Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in Rogue AgentDMQ ReviewSou’wester,The JournalSpillwayRedactionsRadar PoetryVerse Wisconsin. Her chapbook,Her Vena Amoris (Red Bird Chapbooks), is available and her chapbooks, Ophelia Unraveling and The Ornithologist Poems are available from Dancing Girl Press. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart Prizes. She was a recipient of a finalist grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  She blogs here:

Jennifer Hanks is the author of the forthcoming chapbooks Prophet Fever (Hyacinth Girl Press) and The Unsteady Planet(Instar Books), a collaboration with illustrator Julie Herndon. Her work has appeared in Arcadia, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Muzzle, Menacing Hedge, PANK, and other journals. She writes an ongoing column, Disorder Reigns, for Arcadia‘s online sundries blog. She is an MFA candidate at the University of New Orleans.


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