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Poem-A-Day

Poem-a-Day is the original and only daily digital poetry series featuring over 200 new, previously unpublished poems by today's talented poets each year. On weekdays, poems are accompanied by exclusive commentary by the poets. The series highlights classic poems on weekends. Launched in 2006, Poem-a-Day is now distributed via email, web, and social media to 350,000+ readers free of charge and is available for syndication. For more information about how to syndicate Poem-a-Day, contact poem-a-day@poets.org.

Fledgling

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, September 26, 2017.
About this Poem 
“Watching my son encounter the world has taught me a dynamic kind of joy. He wants to know the world with such a ferocious intimacy, and it makes me want to know the world that way, too. To be willing to look at the awful vulnerability of hatchlings. To risk my heart on foolish and necessary miracles like love.”
—Traci Brimhall
 

Fledgling

I scare away rabbits stripping the strawberries
in the garden, ripened ovaries reddening 
their mouths. You take down the hanging basket 
and show it to our son—a nest, secret as a heart, 
throbbing between flowers. Look, but don’t touch, 
you instruct our son who has already begun 
to reach for the black globes of a new bird’s eyes, 
wanting to touch the world. To know it. 
Disappointed, you say: Common house finch, 
as if even banal miracles aren’t still pink 
and blind and heaving with life. When the cat 
your ex-wife gave you died, I was grateful. 
I’d never seen a man grieve like that 
for an animal. I held you like a victory, 
embarrassed and relieved that this was how 
you loved. To the bone of you. To the meat. 
And we want the stricken pleasure of intimacy,
so we risk it. We do. Every day we take down 
the basket and prove it to our son. Just look
at its rawness, its tenderness, it’s almost flying.
 

Copyright © 2017 by Traci Brimhall. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 26, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Traci Brimhall. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 26, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.