Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Galleywinter #24 - Don Colburn

Mockingbirds

Don’t need a song, the overheard
will do. Rusty gate, teakettle,
alley cat, tree frog, tufted titmouse,
the blue jay’s jeer and pump handle —
all part of the mocker’s repertoire.
One in Massachusetts was said to sound
like three dozen other birds
besides himself. Yet so territorial
they will attack their own image
in a window pane or a hubcap.
A pair have nested in the holly tree,
three eggs, chicks now, three
grotesque yellow mouths
widening as their mother arrives,
a grasshopper dangling green from her bill.
All fuzz and beak, the little ones
haven’t learned to mimic the rest
of the world, or even listen.
They push out their unfledged
thin insistent artless peeps
all in a row, the pitch so perfect
you wish for a little street talk.


Don Colburn is a poet and retired newspaper reporter in Portland, Oregon. He has published four poetry collections. A fifth one, Mortality, with Pronoun Shifts, won the 2018 Cathy Smith Bowers chapbook contest and is due out in March, 2019, from Main Street Rag press. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, and won the Discovery/The Nation Award, the Finishing Line Press Prize and the Cider Press Review Book Award. During his newspaper career, he was a reporter for The Washington Post and The Oregonian, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.

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