Poem of the Week: “Bird” by Dorianne Laux

Assistant to the Director, Estee Schlenner, chose this week’s poem. “I always turn to Dorianne Laux’s work when I need some comfort, and I feel like we could all use a little comforting right now. I love the way she ties in nature to her poetry, and how this poem leaves you thinking about gratitude in your own life. I hope you all are staying safe and healthy.”

Bird

For days now a red-breasted bird
has been trying to break in.
She tests a low branch, violet blossoms
swaying beside her, leaps into the air and flies
straight at my window, beak and breast
held back, claws raking the pane.
Maybe she longs for the tree she sees
reflected in the glass, but I’m only guessing.
I watch until she gives up and swoops off.
I wait for her return, the familiar
click, swoosh, thump of her. I sip cold coffee
and scan the room, trying to see it new,
through the eyes of a bird. Nothing has changed.
Books piled in a corner, coats hooked
over chair backs, paper plates, a cup
half-filled with sour milk.
The children are in school. The man is at work.
I’m alone with dead roses in a jam jar.
What do I have that she could want enough
to risk such failure, again and again?

Poem copyright ©1990 by Dorianne Laux, “Bird,” from Awake, (Carnegie Mellon Univ. Press, 1990).

Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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