Jessica L. Walsh

Poets, I hope
all your bird poems
are really about birds.
That a flicker of red means cardinal—
oh the oh of his profile against snow or pine,
the simple beauty—
not toxic red blood, not
dread, omen, doom,
not midnight suppuration
I clean from my beloved’s neck.
I hope eggs conjure birth, life,
a good growth,
flipside of egg-sized tumors
rotting through choked throat.
That if a chick tumbles from nest
you see sublime nature
an abstract symmetry
so different from a body
dropping to hospital floor.
I hope you write about birds
for the beauty of birds
and I hope someday to find you
in open air.

Harvest of the Last Full Moon
Our lake dried overnight
By then catastrophes were so familiar
that we termed them miracles
The lakebed gifted us
with what water had withheld
Creatures white and crusted
creaking but eager to breathe
lying on their sides half-buried
until they peeled their horns skyward and stood
their tremendous shell hides
articulating amid cracks and groans
As from another planet
found just beneath us
they lumbered one by one
towards the asparagus field
long since lost to swelter
How they tramped and chewed
We dwell on the edge of savannahs these days
We await giraffes

Jessica L. Walsh is a poet and professor at a community college in suburban Chicago. Her first book, How to Break My Neck, was released earlier this year by ELJ. She is also the author of two chapbooks. Her poems have been published recently in Whale Road Review, Tinderbox, Midwestern Gothic, Yellow Chair Review and more. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and Bettering the Net.