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Anne Moynet Audubon, Long Before "Birds of America"
Irene Latham

This boy would dart off before dawn,
climb trees, examine eggs, take out
his little pencil and draw the birds in flight.
When I’d meet him at the arbor with tea
and cookies, he’d share the bounty
of pockets; egg shells, nests of curling
leaves, feathers of every color. So what
if his cheeks stayed smudged and he rarely
made it in time for supper? For those
of you who’ll say, he was not yours,
I ask you: does the earth not belong
to the sky? Does the shore not love
the ocean, even as it crashes upon it?
does the bluebird not sit on the nest,
even if the egg is specked instead of pale?
From The Color of Lost Rooms (Blue Rooster Press, 2010).
Awarded the Writer’s Digest 19th Annual Self-Published Book Prize for Poetry.
Used here with the author’s permission.

Irene Latham is a poet and novelist from Birmingham, Alabama, who writes heart-touching tales of unexpected adventure. When she is not writing, you might find her wandering in art museums, reading history books, creating quilts or enjoying the company of her husband and three sons. Learn more about her at



Post New Comment:
Lovely...the unexpected stanza breaks keep the reader on edge...and words and subject so well chosen. Thanks!
Posted 04/27/2012 02:28 PM
This came across as a real voice giving real answersto real questions Bravo!
Posted 04/26/2012 01:27 PM
Lovely! Phyllis
Posted 04/26/2012 10:18 AM
Beautiful Poem Irene.I love the commentary on nature and the ode to Audubon
Posted 04/26/2012 08:47 AM
Irene starts with statements, and moves quickly to questions, mainly of 'ownership,' with painstaking details throughout.
Posted 04/26/2012 08:19 AM

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