Barbara Brooks, Author, Poems, Poet, The Catbird Sang, Hillsborough, Orange County of North Carolina, Finishing Line Press.

Published Poems by Barbara Brooks

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It's four in the morning, the dogs want breakfast.
Turn on the light; there they are, all one thousand
of them. Scurrying back and forth, they are taking
sugar to the nest somewhere in the wall.
A scout ant must have picked up the smell of cocoa
brownies; left a trail for others to follow

They are so small but who knows what damage they
are doing to the house? The ant spray I use inside
is supposed to smell like cinnamon. I spray a paper towel
and attack the horde. Last year, I thought I had closed
all the holes with tub and tile caulking. But still they come.
This year, I squirt a gel into the holes I hadn't found
and outdoors along their paths on the foundation.

Outside I turn over a cinder block, find the nest.
Nurse ants run eggs deeper underground.
I apologize for disrupting their home. I leave the block
until they take all the eggs away. I suppose I shouldn't kill them,
I let the spiders cast their webs in the sun room.

I just don't want ants in the house.
Avalon Literary Review

I play the three I know: Free Cell, Spider,
and plain old Klondike to kill time,
to clear my mind between re-writes,
escape life.

On the carpet, as close
as he can get, lies my dog.
When a deuce tops the trey,
followed by the ace,
a little ping from the computer
rewards my success.

Bull's tail thumps on the floor.
Ping, thump, ping, thump,
he applauds the card played.

When I tell him that he'll wear his tail out,
the thumps come faster and faster.

I play one more game of each.

Avalon Literary Review

I was distracted by other thoughts:

The squirrel darted left, right, I didn't slow or hit the brakes
because I was thinking:

Dad's first Thanksgiving alone.
Is the paint thinner and all that oil still in the basement?
It is hard to go home.

He ran under the wheels. I looked back,
his white belly shone in the sun.

This morning, wings outstretched as if in prayer,
the vultures warmed in the dead tree.

The Foundling Review 8/2012

A Question
Which ion starts the cascade
that becomes a thought,
sodium or potassium?
An electrical current ripples
down the axon
in milliseconds,
chemicals float into the neural junction,
spread to the adjacent neuron.

But where does the process become
more than electricity and chemicals?
Does it race through the hippocampus
to gain a hint of emotion, gather
attention in the thalamus, rush into the light
of the cerebral cortex

to become this poem?

Epiphany mag online, 4/2012


He is here again, his white van
and a butterscotch light for warnings.
He has come to see the heat pump. Yesterday
he came twice. Maybe he needed a part.

He kneels by the metal lungs
of the heat pump, doesn't disturb
the wood thrush singing its E-OH-LAY. Or the wrens
ferrying insects to the nest in the dryer vent.

Lifting the panel, he kneels
in front, an altar of temperature.
I can't see what he is doing,
spring leaves block my view.

He has removed the pump's cover.
It is sitting in the drive. I didn't see him
bring a new one, besides he is alone.
A new one is too heavy for one to carry.

It's 2 pm, he is packing up. He gets out,
monkeys with the For Sale sign
at the end of the drive.
Puts it in his truck.

The house has been empty for a year,
its previous owners gone north.
On the deck, I listen, a yellow-throated warbler,
it will be leaving soon.

Chagrin River Review Fall 2012


Stream flows, not quite out of its banks.
Titmouse calls, an echo.
Birch leaf, white flag of winter's surrender,
flutters to ground.
Spider floats silk between trees.
Rain drops jewel redbud.

Squirrel breakfasts on seeds,
starts a nest. Cuts and balances a twig,
maneuvers it to the crotch of sycamore.
Takes a break, inspects a hole in dead snag,
leaps to maple only to disappear.

Wind tears through greening tulip poplar,
rips tender leaf from branch.
Worm dries in sun, rain-driven
from soil. Ferns unravel by rotting log.
May apples umbrella forest floor.


Wrens trill, blue jays scream warning.
A black racer scaling the tree? The branch sways,
perhaps the red-shouldered hawk waits for a nestling.

Thunder grumbles, chickadees fuss.
In the woods, ferns wait for rain.
Jays attack the sitting hawk until she flies,

showing her striped tail.
A distant call, her mate hunts.
Only wind as the storm approaches.

The Cherry Blossom Review

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