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My Mother Recites the Birds

by Chelsea Harlan

I haven’t really
taken any notice.

Finches, cardinals,
blue jays, titmouse,
nuthatches, crows,
yellow grosbeaks,

I said titmouse…
um, some woodpeckers.
I have sparrows
nesting in the planters…

What else:
hawks,
but they don’t come to the feeders,
red-tail hawks,

warblers…
though I couldn’t
tell you what they look like.
You should be calling Becky.


Chelsea Harlan is a poet from Appalachian Virginia. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Sixth Finch, CutBank, Southwest Review, The Greensboro Review, The American Poetry Review, and The Southern Poetry Anthology. She lives in the Blue Ridge.

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