Pick-a-Poem: “For the Birds”

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Welcome to another Wednesday and, consequently, another poem featured here on the blog. If you’re looking for a bit of new poetry to brighten up your week, then you have come to the right place. As always, today’s poem comes from Poetry Daily, the website that offers you a new poem each day, as its name suggests. This week we’re featuring For the Birds, a poem written by Cathryn Essinger.

According to her page on Poetry Daily, Cathryn Essinger has written three books of poetry, A Desk in the Elephant HouseMy Dog Does Not Read Plato, and What I Know About Innocence. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Southern Review and The Alaska Quarterly, and she is a member of The Greenville Poets. Though she is a retired professor of English, Cathryn is currently teaching poetry workshops and learning Japanese.

For the Birdsby Cathryn Essinger

At the farmer’s market the grocer has decided
to give me a Bible lesson as I fumble for my wallet
to purchase a squash.

This one is called the Crown of Thorns, he says,
to remind us of the cross, and here are ten spokes,
one for each of the commandments
.

I give the grocer his money, but my sympathy is
with the squash, whose nature has been hijacked
by religion. It fills my palm

with its hefty promise and I suspect it of knowing
the true art of resurrection—seeds packed
into a sinewy cave,

where the pulp is so fragrant that time holds still.
When I split the ovum with a knife I reveal
a space so private

that I am embarrassed to have looked, flesh as pale
as the new moon, and an aroma so seminal that
it stains all thought.

With the sharp edge of a spoon, I scrape out the seeds,
and then holding the soft entrails in one hand
throw it all to the birds.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem! For more posts like this one, click here.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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