Carol Berg

Lampshade, Basket, Discarded Poem Drafts: photograph of assemblage w/digital collage elements. Celeste Goyer

Bird Sign


My father watches the army

of sparrows in the bushes, how they feint

and attack a hawk threatening a hidden nest.


Sign for distraction. My mother spies on robins busy

in the crabapple tree. She notices what fruit they eat, what seeds

they leave behind. Sign for poisoning your enemy.


My sister studies the hummingbirds’ fight scenes

near the feeders, learns how to swing a sword by how

they move their heads.  Sign for misdirection. 


My son, still too young, takes pictures of the crow’s

shadows advancing through the trees. Develops them to see how

outlines of shadow steal into light. Sign to infiltrate.


He tells us his pictures are really maps

with unseen portals. We tell him he’s not ready

to start opening the doors. 


Cardinal Girl


In the night, she feared the featherings

of her aorta. A coursing of crimson lifted


into aerodynamic theory. She listened to the testament

of Red, memorized the Book of Blood. Studied


the viscous path of the hibiscus’ blackest blooms.


In the middle of July’s heaviest heat, she could be found

eating the fireworks. A sky full of burning


crowns. She steals one with the widest boom,

places it on her head.  She understands now


the Righteousness of Beak, of Dawn.

Self Portrait as Cloud

I dabble in titanium colored layering


I babble about centers             about the luminous

            elemental canvas of sky             I’m playful


with horizontals   I crow on and on about the sheen


            of rain             about the texture of rain

                        about the little eggdrops of rain


I stutter over the cities in the atmospheres  the skyscrapers

of stratosphere    the cabals in the magnetosphere


I’m all aflutter over the innovation of the wind

            of the exhibition of the current     of the entanglements of a breeze


And the mirroring of the seas   oh how loud I am

            about the thirst of a green wave