Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
an online journal of literature and the arts
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That the lemon tree blooms late in the season
is not an indication of immaturity,

stunted growth—especially given that the tree might bloom
twice, even three times, in a year. Craquelure

in the bark veins into innumerable paths,
trailways. If you look close enough,

you can find a road in almost anything. Almost always,
you can find whatever you’re looking for.


In the predawn blue light, shadows of pines
shiver against an indigo sky. Mercury,

patron of travelers—crossing the threshold into day—quivers.
Closest to the sun, the planet is visible only

at its greatest separation from the star.


That is your path, you cannot miss
the tracks my wheels have left.


Once, I lived in an apartment
whose chimney housed swifts every summer;

each year, once winter ended,
the same swifts returned to lay new eggs, the hatchlings

waking me every morning for a month
with their incessant chirping,

before they learned to fly and left the nest.


Planet, from the Greek to wander.


Catawba worms spin webbed nests in the horned holly.
Hermit thrushes make a haven of the privet;

vines latch to the paint-chipped windowsill,
tendrils twining up the wall.


Where is the land that Apollo
calls us wanderers to, the land of our return?


The windowpane fills with light,
a pattern crosshatched on the hardwood. As quickly

as it entered, the light coils like a hawser.
There’s a trail the light leaves when it exits a room.

I crawl around the floor, searching for it.


Silence punctuated by birdsong,
the purling waters of a neighbor’s garden fountain.

Lacking proper ballast, ships roll and rock
among the wavesunbalanced. Crepe myrtles blush,

wind billows their branches like sails.  

The italicized lines in section three are spoken by Apollo to his son, Phaethon, in Book II of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Those in section seven are from Book III of Virgil’s Aeneid, and those in section nine are from Book II of Metamorphoses.

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