Latest from Book of Birds: “Summer Tanager Montgomery”

I'm gonna name my first daughter
after the prettiest bird in Arizona
‘Summer Tanager’
 
in the state's surprisingly lush riparian areas
among green leaf cottonwoods
pink sandstone rocks and
silver flowing streams
Tanagers will fly BRIGHT RED 
 
like Valentine-heart red
like strawberry Fruit Roll-Up red
like Crayola 8-pack red 
 
the full potential of a color met
from tail to wings to crown
 
I think even its bill is red
even its eyes 
even its whole bird-soul 
 
I go wowwee! every time I see one 
just like I would with my daughter 
 
she could be all red too
mask, costume, and paint
but she wouldn't have to 
 
The Beast says
HOW COULD YOU TAKE CARE OF HER?
YOU CAN'T EVEN TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF 
 
and it kinda makes me wanna stop the fantasy 
 
but I still keep searching for bright birds
writing subconsciously
all over notebook checklists
in red pen

“Summer Tanager Montgomery”

-August 2017, Page Springs, AZ

Listen to “Summer Tanager Montgomery” here!
Summer Tanager, Red Rock SP, Sedona AZ, May 2019

For more from Book of Birds…


For more from the Nine Books series…

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