Tricia Knoll 2
Why I Wear Royal Purple Chicken Feathers in My Hair
by Tricia Knoll

Purple is the shadow of the Appaloosa mare
on the Nez Perce reservation.
Her head nods over barbed-wire, waiting
for the school bus to bring children home
to hand her ripped-up pasture grass.

Purple celebrates March’s gray whale migration
high on a Neahkahnie rock wall,
binoculars to sleek backs, rolling shows.

Purple fears bloodshed, breadlines, and crime tape,
retreats into watery hymns of petition
to soften the saffron glare
when children cry with teachers from gunshots.

Purple is an underhanded wench
who hums madrigals of serpents,
sips the blue moon’s spangled stars
from jelly jars, and sniffs hints
of honey, sage and lilac.

My purple is a tiny dragon, exhaling dusk,
who transforms the drool-juice of plums
into luck and forgiveness. She sneaks under my eyelids,
pinched shut against a wildfire sun over droughted plains.

Like me, she seeks home in a rock castle,
a stout fortress in blackberry brandy,
a lick of molasses, and down pillows
nestled below a stretched fall night.

PHOTO: The author with chicken feathers in her hair.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet — her new poetry collection, Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press) combines lyric and eco-poetry to explore change over time in a small Oregon town on the coast — Manzanita, Oregon. This poem is from the collection. She attaches long feathers into long hair with great joy. A preference for purple. Website: