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


The Last Time My Father Left the House

In the grove, next year’s citrus
hung leaf-green on trees,

and this year’s oranges
brightened branches

or the ground where they had fallen.
We should have known

it was too late, the fruit easing
past ripeness.

We should have left them
for the ants and birds.

White blossoms veiled
the scent of sugar

turning. Bees droned
inside the blooms, dizzy

with the promise
of more sweetness.

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.
 

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


Fever

The quilt Virginia huddles beneath
is too blue—Delft blue, not sky.
It is not her quilt, but it is her quilt.

That window opens too wide—
she’s shivering; someone shut it, please.
It is not her window, but it is her window.

And the girl leaning over her—
a slender curving beak
interrupts her face,

and chestnut down blooms
like moss over her skin—
she is and isn’t Genevieve.

Don’t move, Virginia, don’t
startle her. Feel the kiss
of her bill against your cheek.

The feathers trimming her skirt
silence its rustle. She cannot speak,
Virginia, but maybe she will sing.

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.
 

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


Study for Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Virginia breaks the eggs open
with her sketch until two nestlings
spill out, their tiny bodies
hunched like raisins
inside the lichen-plastered nest.

She composes what she recalls:
the sharp triangles of bills,
the bulge of eyes beneath shut lids,
the stringy down along the spine,
awkward as a first mustache.

She documents the birds’ imagined growth.
Their beaks lengthen and eyes open.
Their quills prick through black skin.
Then the greening feathers
and wings that strain

against the stretched-out nest.
Virginia fledges the birds
out the studio window to the garden,
where trumpet vine waits
for the flash of still-white throats.

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.
 

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


Portrait of Genevieve as a Young Woman

The photograph once pleased Virginia:
the way the light catches in Genevieve’s eyes
and burnishes her curls to amber,
how it blanches the stain of her rosacea
to marble. The gold rosette earrings
widen her slim cheeks.
Genevieve made the suit herself—
not with the blue silk Virginia suggested
but with stiff brown tweed,
the only embellishment
a double row of gold buttons.
They march down her bodice
toward the vignette’s haze.
Now Virginia can’t look at the portrait
without imagining fog
creeping up her daughter’s chest and throat.
It smothers her mouth and nose
and dims her eyes,
rising past the soft down at her hairline
to claim every part of her,
even this relic, this trick of light.

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.
 

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.