The True Names of Birds

The True Names of Birds by Susan Goyette by Susan Goyette
ISBN: 9780919626997

After finding Sue Goyette’s work in the Open Field anthology, I went looking for more of her work. I decided to read in chronological order, so I started with this. I probably would have started here anyway though, given that the poem that most stuck with me was also the title of this book. (I can be patient; I’m saving her more recent collection, Ocean, to read on my vacation.)

I was not disappointed. Recognition, sadness, humor, longing, questioning… all are here. Spouses and parents and children. Here’s one from this collection:

On Loss

The space between a falling leaf and the tree;
that’s how loss begins. Crows loop

and lace their shadows to that space,
it deepens, becomes sky.

Not everything that goes leaves a trail. Train tracks are obvious,
so are highways. But tell me of the borders we cross

deep within the night. Which of us is marking trees
and which of us is navigating by the stars.

Even though we protect our children from the wind, the bough
still breaks and I drive to the beach alone. Singing of falling bridges,

you make them breakfast while I watch the ocean
from the car. Even the ocean is small under this sky.

I am glad I have more of Goyette’s poetry still to read.

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