Julia Lisella: “Bird walk”

Bird walk 

On the wire woven through the trees
the bird, gray, larger than a swallow,
lands, seems frantic

to hear a call in return to her high caw

I stand listening beneath the tree
half thinking
we are waiting together

but my dog grows impatient
tugs for the next sniff near the end of the block
he, too, feeding on breath
and instinct and I let him
tug me along,

but I keep listening behind me
for the distance between
the end of her shriek and caw
turn to see the slight cock of her head
as she waits for sound to be met by sound
a companion
who does not seem to be anywhere near

Is she lost? Is the one she’s seeking lost?
Is she shrieking to a bird of another type
that does not sound as she does?

What waiting is is never clear
but I can feel it now
as something close
to this lost sound,
a vibration nearly recovered and nearly returned
to the original vibration,
the original shrill of need or love.


Julia Lisella is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Always and Terrain (both from WordTech Editions) and the chapbook Love Song Hiroshima (Finishing Line Press, 2004). Her poems are widely anthologized and have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Antiphon, Ocean State Review, Literary Mama, Salamander, Prairie Schooner, Valparaiso, and others. She has received residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, MacDowell, Millay, and Dorset colonies, and has received a number of grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to lead community poetry workshops. Her scholarship focuses on American women modernists, especially Genevieve Taggard. She is Associate Professor of English at Regis College in Massachusetts, and has recently joined the Board of the Robert Creeley Foundation.

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