Issue > Poetry
Robert Fanning

Robert Fanning

Robert Fanning is the author of American Prophet (Marick Press, 2009), The Seed Thieves (Marick Press, 2006), and Old Bright Wheel (Ledge Press Poetry Award, 2003). His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, The Atlanta Review, and other journals. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Sarah Lawrence College, he is now Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. He lives in Mt. Pleasant, MI with his wife, sculptor Denise Whitebread Fanning, and their two children.

The Bird In The Room

As she speaks          I try to hear her     
                    though another feather
from her mouth

The shadow                              of a wavering tree          
                                                            covers the wall                    
Does she know                    
it's in the room with us
                                                 Now she laughs
                                                 and outside          
                                                 the bare branches bloom
what a forest
she is          
                         of shimmering hands
                                    what a rustle her eyes                make as if     
                                                                                      to hide
                                    what now batters the lights
                                    what now clings to                     her      curtains     
                                                                                      her silver hair
what skitters
across the table
between us                   her small chest frantic
                                                 with tufted thunder

as it lifts toward the false window           of a framed mirror again
only to drop               
                                                             and drag its dark cape
                                                             of tailfeathers
                                                             across the soft carpet            toward her
I want to say
Mother there's a bird          
                                                  in here                     Though when I speak of late
                                                  she hears
                                                  mostly silence           Her ears stuffed
                                                                                               with eclipse plumage
What are you doing she asks          
                                                  as I open
                                                  her door                   trying              to let
                                                                                  the thought of       her
                                                                                  death                    escape me


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