Search this website

The Parcel RSS

The Parcel

24 April, 2021: The Parcel

Read a Poem

The Parcel

By Russell Brickey

A bird’s nest,
As empty as a skull,
Lays, its wrap of twigs
Frozen on one side to
The earth.  As a child
Would, I cradle the nest,
Carry it home & tuck it
Into the warmth of the house,
Watch for a time as if it
Might do something.  Simple
Mud-brown basket, a crown
Turned upside down, or
A dropped package—I don’t
Know.  I have taken something
Which does not belong
Indoors.  Once,
When I was a child, my father
Lifted & held me, hushing me,
Into the verge of a willow
Stand.  Beneath that secret
Chamber so close
Behind the house, a mother
Robin guarded her hatchlings.
The dark of the bird’s
Plumage melded with the shade
Where sun speared the canopy.
Deep in the cross of branches,
The heat was a mossy stone.
I slipped into that wanderlight.
I was welcome.
“The Parcel” by Russell Brickey, from Cold War, Evening News. Kelsay Books. 2014. Used by permission of the author.
Russell Brickey has full-length collections out from Spuyten Duyvil (He Knows What a Stick Is) and Wild Leaf Press (Atomic Atoll), and a chapbook available from Kelsay Books (Cold War Evening News). He studied creative writing at the University of Oregon and Purdue University. Russell is a full-time lecturer in English at Youngstown State University where his wife, Laura Beadling, is an associate professor of film and English.

Write a Poem

Write a poem on how to treat one of these people: a nurse, a psychiatrist, a tanner, a seamstress, or a writer.
Laurie K
@Sophia -- THANK YOU for your kind note and for subscribing to CCPL's poetry blog.
4/28/2021 4:34:11 PM

Sophia Viglione
I just want to say that I LOVE this series every April, and I hope you keep providing it for us. Thank you!
4/28/2021 8:56:58 AM

Sierra Polsinelli
How to treat (appreciate) ... a writer

He broods
some say he is moody
I call it ...... thoughtful

He is intense
he sees everything
hears everything
feels everything
I call it .... Deep

He spends hours alone
alone on walks
alone in silence
alone in the late hours
I call it ... Contemplative

Writers dream for us
they uncover truth
they delve into mystery
they touch the sublime

Our gift IS the writer

(I love my writer, he makes me laugh, he helps me SEE the world!)
4/24/2021 4:56:12 PM

posted for Tovli
POEM DAY 24: Write a poem on how to treat one of these people: a nurse, a psychiatrist, a tanner, a seamstress, or a writer.


No talking. Stop moving. I hate your face.
All that’s left are your eyes darting under the table,
grieving lost needles. I have thread. It’s the wrong color.
My thread separates; breaks free like sour lemons releasing a tree,
expecting to never be important again. The seamstress
is frightened. She works without glasses.

I hate your face. Nothing moving. Nothing said.
There’s no release. Every weapon sticks like old needles impaling pin-cushions.
Desertion isn’t possible, tolerated, or comprehended any longer.
Now, loss is intimate, sewn into a mirror, changing language
to meet the day’s expectations. The seamstress
gives up. She cries for impartiality.

Movement. Talk. Faces. I hate what’s leftover.
I expect square pieces, flannel backing; many colors, fake identities.
No flags. Nothing that personal. Stop bending paper. Let the law go.
Notice how rags are seldom mourned or followed?
Covered mouths imply you have nothing to say.
Build the past as if the future meant something. Like a quilt—everyone
stitched inside the same picture. The seamstress
obeys. She has no choice.

The embassy pretends its doors open. No one thought to aim the needle,
match the thread; plan for time, or tell the citizen to find a home. If they’ve forgotten your address you might as well let the tree sour; fill knapsacks with syrup,
and dry into a global scab. Stop ripping your skin. Nothing is solved. Next week, shut your eyes. The seamstress
has finished: her unwritten sentence banished—

a tree-leaf floats like an edge, releasing its favorite pieces…
…exact measurements further away than silence.

© Tovli 2021
4/24/2021 12:25:16 PM

Vlad Suchan
How to Treat a Woman, a Chinese and a Poet

Wang Wei, a distinguished courtesan,
let longing hold her brush—
What else holds the brushes and pens
of the artists whose heart
cannot keep from speaking?

And it is through longing
that art and its hearts breathe,
live and grow, dancing on the tips
like the whirling ballerinas
over the abyss—covered in blank white.

And each and every line has a whole
history of longing inside and flowing streams
that must be tapped and drawn from heart
when the soul turns even the day’s unbroken light
into a night, calling out to sight an unseen moon.

Thus longing calls for longing, and hearts
call out for hearts kindred—as if such a brush
and its heart within, in leaving their mark
by a touch, were an onrush of spread-out wings,
telling someone else that she has such wings too.
4/24/2021 10:43:27 AM

Mary M Chadbourne
What a beautiful piece, threading a childhood memory through the needle's eye of an adult wanting that magic again: "I slipped into that wanderlight.
I was welcome." Beautiful and evocative.
4/24/2021 10:43:11 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.