Birds Talking Place
First night in our new house
a screech owl made introductions,
eerie and blistering and unforgettable
as any sound at 2:37 A.M. may be,
but as an owl screech is most especially.
First morning in our new house
a clutch of blue jays fussed and quarreled
and kicked up dirt at the little dog
until the bigger dogs issued instructions
to do so no more.
And every morning since in this house
the birds put me on notice:
wrens, waxwings, flickers, vireo.
Most days, and most all day,
red tailed hawks circle and glide
over the valley trees.
A murder of three crows
rides out the heat of the hottest days
in the oak behind our house.
And when the tractors come to mow the pastures,
geese from the northern pond
and ducks from the southern
kill time away from the disturbance
milling about our back yard.
For the first week in our new house
I had coffee with the mockingbird
who sat on our chimney and san,
all the calls he knew,
twenty-five or thirty,
end on end,
and again and again,
my understanding was complete.
Joey Brown’s poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in a number of literary journals including Rhino, The Mid-America Poetry Review, The Dos Passos Review, Compass Rose, Pinyon, Clare, The Chaffin Journal, Quiddity, Front Range Review, storySouth, Freshwater, and The Florida Review. Her work has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize three times. In 2010, Mongrel Empire press published a collection of her poems titled Oklahomaography.
Joey holds an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Oklahoma. She is a writing professor and teaches writing workshops.