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Waiting Out the Wind with Grackles
by Jessica Purdy

The wind that frightens me now
will quiet. So will the hours
spent waiting at the height
of fight or flight that do no good at all.

All those times you panicked
before crossing a bridge
or going through a tunnel have gone.
Your mother’s dying took years.

Now she comes to me in dreams
still alive and just the same
as she was, only now she’s
a piece that won’t fit this life’s puzzle.

I’ve packaged winter in a ziplock bag.
It leaves an imprint of toasted
bread and butter. Leftovers
and vestiges. The black

wings of a plague of grackles fling
up from the trees like a magician’s
sprung deck of cards.
They spin like a van Gogh sky
encircling the map of the world.

The wind made visible, they tilt and shift,
until their wings fold and their feet grip
the grass. Their squabble
of squeaks in chorus
sound for all the world like a warning
masked as exaltation.

And then I notice red-winged blackbirds too,
their epaulettes distinctive in the crowd.

I stand at the doorway looking out.
It’s for these inevitable
disappearances I am still waiting.

PAINTING: Grackles and Angus by Jamie Wyeth (1974).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I had been reading Galway Kinnell’s poem “Wait” when I saw the prompt for this series. The line in his poem: “Only wait a little and listen” gave me comfort. The lament in Ferlinghetti’s poem is borne of frustration and impatience with the world’s injustices, and I felt that too, while writing. Ultimately, comfort is what I am waiting for in this poem. The grackles experience of the wind was the opposite of mine. They embodied it, while I cowered. I found myself hoping for the fear to pass, but in the meantime previous and future traumas kept appearing. Like any strong emotion, the wind did eventually die down.

Bio pic for Telephone Game

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jessica Purdy teaches Poetry Workshops at Southern New Hampshire University. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her poems and reviews have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Gargoyle, gravel, The Plath Poetry Project, The Ekphrastic Review, The Light Ekphrastic, SurVision, The Wild Word, isacoustic, Nixes Mate Review, Bluestem, The Telephone Game, and Silver Birch Press, among others. Her chapbook, Learning the Names, was published in 2015 by Finishing Line Press. Her books STARLAND and Sleep in a Strange House were both released by Nixes Mate Books consecutively, in 2017 and 2018. Visit her at jessicapurdy.com.