Terri Kirby Erickson
Bio Note: I live with my husband (a man who owns a plethora of golf pants in such bright colors, they are surely visible from distant galaxies) in a small town in North Carolina with a name that few people who don’t live there, can pronounce. I am the author of six collections of poetry, and my work has appeared in numerous publications, including American Life in Poetry, The Sun, and The Writer’s Almanac. You will often find me squinting at a computer screen, trying to write a few poems in spite of being half-blinded by the constant glare from the neon trousers of my beloved, golf-adoring spouse.
for Leonard From branch to branch of a walnut tree, a silken strand of web is gently swaying as if the wind, wearing ballet shoes, is crossing it. And look at the lake’s rippled surface spangled with gold, and the water birds resting on a fallen limb, each facing a different direction like a pair of sentinels, ever vigilant. And who knew turtles could swim so fast, their feet like paddles, their mud-colored shells like a fleet of coracles? And a single cloud, as fat as an unshorn sheep, floats like a water lily in an azure sky. Together, we listen to the languid flap of a heron’s blue wing—watch pale yellow light sift through the tender green leaves, a white bass breaching the lake’s gilded lid. And above us all, the noon-day sun looks like a communion wafer, and summer air tastes sweeter than wine.
Pulteney Weir, where the River Avon flows over V-shaped tiers, is a gathering place for gulls and swans. Some stand in the shallows near the weir’s cascading water, while others are as buoyant as pontoon boats floating upon the river’s surface. Downy-soft and white as foam, the swans curl their long necks and lift the tips of their alabaster wings skyward, as if seconds from taking flight. So cool and calm, they resemble a mirage in the glaring heat of a summer day, as serene as Abbot Thayer’s painted angels, gazing at some distant beam of light. The gulls, less ornamental than their graceful companions, caw and flap and fish as if circling a wooden pier instead of famous Pulteney Bridge. But nothing man can make is as perfect as a feather. And neither a swan nor a seagull needs a bridge to reach the sky.
©2021 Terri Kirby Erickson
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