Poem of the Week | May 16, 2016

This week we feature another poem from our new Spring 2016 Editors’ Prize issue, 39.1. Patricia Hooper’s fourth book of poetry, Separate Flights, was awarded the Anita Claire Sharf Award and will be published later this year by the University of Tampa Press. Her poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The Yale Review, The Iowa Review, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review and other publications. A Michigan native, she now lives in North Carolina.
Author’s note:

“My Junco” happened in life almost the way I wrote it. I wanted to capture the bird’s beauty and dignity and suggest something of its part in nature’s design. As a gardener I am always seeing how old leaves and grass clippings are transformed into soil in which something else grows. Why not these tiny bones? I called the poem “My Junco” because I felt that it was up to me to honor it and place it where it might become again a part of nature’s cycle. The light, airy blossoms of Whirlwind anemones often seem to be fluttering as if about to fly, so that is the plant I chose.


My Junco


This morning another wild flight


the Dark-eyed Junco
hitting the picture window—


no, he was dead, not stunned.


And how elegant he was
as I lifted him


from the patio—
slate feathers and soft gray throat.


And how perfectly he fit
the palm of my gardening glove


as I wrapped him in oak leaves
and buried him in the earth.


Another of the world’s
beautiful ideas,


but nourishing the next one—


those Whirlwind anemones
I planted under the oak tree


beside him—
next summer’s wings.