This tulle-and-taffeta prom dress of a morning makes promises it can’t keep.

A bird orange as

(analogy finds nothing in nature, counts to ten and goes searching for)

redemption or your new sweater

competes with the coral tree’s flower-seed for the free—

floating attention of a wandering eye and I tell my brother:
                                        I am that bird.

He says: look yourself up in the guide and tell me what you are.

I reply: I am an orange-throated tanager.

He says: that’s unlikely, you’re nowhere near Peru, you’re
                    a finch or an oriole.

Indifferent to identity, I become a rose thorn and spy a finger
                                                                                                    nearing me—

so this is how the spindle feels.


Patty Seyburn has published three books of poems: Hilarity (New Issues Press, 2009); Mechanical Cluster (Ohio State University Press, 2002); and Diasporadic (Helicon Nine Editions, 1998). Her poems are currently in Boston Review, DIAGRAM, and Hotel Amerika. She is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Long Beach and co-editor of “POOL: A Journal of Poetry”:

Poet’s Recommendations:

The Periodic Table by Primo Levi.

View with a Grain of Sand by Wisława Szymborska.

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy.

Homepage photo via Flickr by Jason Taellious:

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