The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Studies of Familiar Birds by Carrie Green

After the Diagnosis

Hontoon Island State Park, DeLand, Florida

We walked the hammock to the shell mound,
my father first on the hard-packed path.
Shadows of palms and oaks slanted like rungs,
the path a shining ladder through trees.

My father led us on the hard-packed path,
head down, sharp elbows swinging. Did he see
the path shining like a ladder through trees?
We followed him through the hush of fronds.

Head down, sharp elbows swinging, did he see
the red lichen bloom like cells on trunks of trees?
We followed him through the hush of fronds
and the trunks’ stains, bright as open wounds.

The lichen bloomed like cells on trunks of trees.
The sabal palms curved and leaned,
their red stains bright as open wounds.
Trail ends here. We needed to be told.

A sabal palm curved and leaned
into the wide arms of a dead oak.
Trail ends here. We needed to be told.
The midden sinks into swampy ground.

This selection comes from Studies of Familiar Birds, available from Able Muse Press. Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Rivera.

Carrie Green’s book, Studies of Familiar Birds, is forthcoming from Able Muse Press in December 2020. She earned her MFA at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and has received grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Kentucky Arts Council, and the Louisiana Division of the Arts. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry Northwest, River Styx, Flyway, Blackbird, Cave Wall, DIAGRAM, and many other journals. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and works as a reference librarian in a public library.

Nilsa Rivera Castro writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s also the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe and the Non-Fiction Editor of Doubleback Review. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, Selkie Literary Magazine, and Writing Class Radio. She’s currently an MFA Nonfiction candidate at Vermont College of Fine Art and lives in Riverview, Florida.

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