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Last sync:2023-03-09 06:15
Traci Brimhall reads her poem, “Fledgling”.


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Hi, my name is Traci Brimhall, and I'm going to be reading Fledgling. What I remember about writing this poem initially was just trying to do something new with tone. I often zipline grief through a poem and I was trying to do something a little bit more complex or, at least, just not be a complete bummer in a poem.
I scare away rabbits stripping the strawberries
in the garden, ripened ovaries reddening 
their mouths. You take down the hanging basket 
and show it to our son—a nest, secret as a heart, 
throbbing between flowers. Look, but don’t touch, 
you instruct our son who has already begun 
to reach for the black globes of a new bird’s eyes, 
wanting to touch the world. To know it. 
Disappointed, you say: Common house finch, 
as if even banal miracles aren’t still pink 
and blind and heaving with life. When the cat 
your ex-wife gave you died, I was grateful. 
I’d never seen a man grieve like that 
for an animal. I held you like a victory, 
embarrassed and relieved that this was how 
you loved. To the bone of you. To the meat. 
And we want the stricken pleasure of intimacy,
so we risk it. We do. Every day we take down 
the basket and prove it to our son. Just look
at its rawness, its tenderness, it’s almost flying.