This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Kirsten Kowalewski, is from Uncertain Acrobats by Rebecca Hart Olander released by CavanKerry Press in 2021.
On weekends, over the years, our family went to the annual flowering at the Arnold Arboretum, where panicles of blossoms in mid-May were at their height, bunches of corollas dripping from boughs in that sanctuary for trees. We’d spread our checked cloth and picnic in a cloud of sweetness and bees. That there could be an arboretum. That there could be that many different shades of purple. These outings showed me that, and the names for birds and their calls as other days we’d walk Mount Auburn Cemetery with binoculars and quartered peanut-butter- and-jellies. That a cemetery could be a place for life. That we could go pioneering through a yard of graves and see beauty in the markers. That we could scan branches for flickering feathers, follow a dash of red or blue across the sky to find where it landed, waiting there with eyes trained on the greenery until it flew again. We took out the battered Peterson and went looking through its pages for what revealed itself in the air. This taught me patience, to look around, and to try to name what was singing there.
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