Monday Apr 23

Newberry Poetry Martina Newberry’s books are Where It Goes, Learning By Rote, Not Untrue & Not Unkind, Running Like a Woman with Her Hair On Fire, Lima Beans and City Chicken: Memories of the Open Hearth. Her work has been widely anthologized and published in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in her beloved Los Angeles with her husband, Brian, a photographer/web designer, and their fur-baby, Charlie T. Cat.

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Fancy Domesticated


Our West-of-England Tumblers had caramel bars
on their feathers and smooth bald heads.

Their feathered feet fell soft where they landed
and the loft we built for them was as much a home

for me as it was for them. During rains, we all
watched a cloud-cluttered horizon. Those birds

warmed me so that I didn’t need a jacket.
They came close, perched unsteadily on my ankles,

took the occasional seed from my hand.
Thinking of them now, I remember the joy of naming them:

Gable & Lombard, Tracy & Hepburn,
George & Gracie, Louie & Keely.

How I impressed myself with telling which bird
was which. On sunny mornings, in the loft,

we opened the windowed perches
to watch them shoot straight up

to attack the sky, tumble 4 or 5 times
and then fly off over places unknown to us.

In the evenings they returned with bits of this
and that on their fanned feet.

I think of driving home from work in those days,
dusted with fumbles and failures and a few

successes
here and there.

This is not just a story about birds of a feather;
it is about a quiet place with

murmuring winged things and warm bodies
seeking nothing more than each other.

“You mustn’t yell at them” said the woman
who sold us our first pair.

“They will fly off and never come back
if you do.”