Poems by Kathleen Balma

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Dead Cardinal

by Kathleen Balma

From Canary Spring 2016

Kathleen lives at the mouth of the Mississippi on the Gulf Coast of the US.

Scarlet clouds against blue carpet:
half-circle of feathers on the floor,

as if the last act were a sweeping
of the wing. Nothing was ever this red.

I found him lying in the living room.
The round profile of his breast

made a treble clef of his body—
plumes legato; bird, whole rest.

Across the room the cat sang
a crying through closed mouth,

her aria of alarm (I barely heard her
solo. I was listening for a soaring.)

—the corpse eye stiff in openness
like new fruit in a tree blossom.




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