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

Carol reading

The Ornithologist Creates A Holy Bird To Carry Away Her Sins

She melts the suet in a casserole dish, snaps
some twigs and lays them down like a cross on the bottom.

She rubs two errant gold-finch wings between her palms for feather-flakes.
She squeezes the red capulet feathers off a red-winged black bird for blood.

Peels off the scales of a pinecone for eyes, although she’s not sure
she wants the bird to see in case it starts to submerge.

Bottles the call of a hungry juvenile hawk searching for food
for the first time without an adult nearby. For peace she seeks

that elusive dove that first flew out of Noah’s arc but settles on a sooty
white pigeon she catches under a toll-way bridge. Should she

place something of herself within? A freckle, an eyelash, a small vein?
She tugs at the invasive vine found outside, climbing on her rhododendron.

She believes it is a sign. Chants the word over and slower in her head.
Rhododendron.   Thy will be done.

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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