Several years ago, I co-edited an anthology of poems about birds, and I wish I’d had the opportunity to include this one, a delight. J. Allyn Rosser lives in Ohio. Her most recent book is “Mimi’s Trapeze” (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014).
Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-2006
Pelicans in December
One can’t help admiring
their rickety grace
and old-world feathers
like seasoned boardwalk planks.
They pass in silent pairs,
as if a long time ago
they had wearied of calling out.
The wind tips them, their
ungainly, light-brown weight,
into a prehistoric wobble,
wings’-end fingers stretching
from fingerless gloves,
necks slightly tucked and stiff,
peering forward and down,
like old couples arm in arm
on icy sidewalks, careful,
careful, mildly surprised
by how difficult it has become
to stay dignified and keep moving
even after the yelping gulls have gone;
even after the scattered sand,
and the quietly lodged complaints.
Poem copyright 2014 by J. Allyn Rosser, “Pelicans in December,” from Mimi’s Trapeze, (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014). Poem reprinted by permission of J. Allyn Rosser and the publisher. Introduction copyright 2015 by The Poetry Foundation. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of “Poetry” magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.