Joan Colby, three poems


Crouched in the paddies with the wounded

Waiting hushed until the hum

Like a loud dragonfly, the rotors whirring.

Bird they whispered. Birdbirdistheword.

Named that colt for those lofty

Memories of rescue. A certain promise.

He could fly. Won the million dollar

Delta Jackpot as a two-year-old. A Derby

Contender, maybe. Then he was wounded.

The way good ones too often are. Went on

To win a few. Retired to stud.

Lucky as the ones who made it home

With gimpy legs or confusions.

Died in a barn fire one year later.

So much for luck. So much

For that guy on the riverbank

Mind whirling like the rotors lifting up.


First there are flamingos,

real ones shading in every syllable of pink

unlike the lawn fakes solidly fuchsia,

Sluttish as five inch heels. The real flamingos

pose one-legged in salt water. Their necks are snakes.

They are less beautiful, than strange.

As in dreams where everything is almost

audible, almost exact, then tones change

to angelus bells, colors become strident.

These people are dead, that’s how I know

it’s still a dre