The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Carol Berg’s “The Ornithologist Poems”

Carol reading

The Ornithologist Places A Bird Bone In Her Mouth

She found the barred owl’s pellet
beneath the only oak tree next to beaver’s
pond. She had stepped over snakes pulling
themselves through dried oak leaves. The sound
of the dead being dragged into undergrowth.

The pellet was the color of great
blue heron with a skyful of wing on his back.
A teardrop with feathers. Could this be a mouse’s
tail or a hardened sinew? It smelled somehow of hide.
Wet horses. It smelled of a mad gallop.

She broke it apart. Inside, a bird’s claw.
Small as a star. She heard the hawk wing
itself into cloud. Her father’s voice in her head,
Always keep one foot on the ground….Now she could keep
one foot from the sky next to her teeth.


This selection comes from Carol Berg’s chapbook The Ornithologist Poems, available now from Dancing Girl Press. Purchase your copy here!

Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in Rogue AgentDMQ ReviewSou’wester,The JournalSpillwayRedactionsRadar PoetryVerse Wisconsin. Her chapbook,Her Vena Amoris (Red Bird Chapbooks), is available and her chapbooks, Ophelia Unraveling and The Ornithologist Poems are available from Dancing Girl Press. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart Prizes. She was a recipient of a finalist grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.  She blogs here:http://carolbergpoetry.blogspot.com/

Jennifer Hanks is the author of the forthcoming chapbooks Prophet Fever (Hyacinth Girl Press) and The Unsteady Planet(Instar Books), a collaboration with illustrator Julie Herndon. Her work has appeared in Arcadia, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Muzzle, Menacing Hedge, PANK, and other journals. She writes an ongoing column, Disorder Reigns, for Arcadia‘s online sundries blog. She is an MFA candidate at the University of New Orleans.

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