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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The parade: bands
Girl Scouts and floats
"float" struck me as strange

horses' teeth are floated
debt floats
ribs float

toilet part that controls the water level
tool used in woodworking
ice cream in soda

When I was younger, I could float
over the world now bad dreams drown
me under dark water

Fade Oct 2011

For each month, the ancients
have named the moons.

The Wolf Moon's winter
outline is sharp,
stares cold and hard
from high in the sky.
The April's Growing
Moon is a softer light.
The Hay Moon
of summer stays
butter yellow.

Like the ancients, I gaze
at Orion in his eternal
hunt for Ursa Major.
But I know
that we move
at incomprehensible
speed in swells
of dark matter
and energy towards
our beginning
on a filament as fine
as light.

Third Wednesday

The meadowlark perches on the fence
overlooking the remains of its nest. Red fox
and black snake were not the culprits.
The grass was cut and baled.

Once a man, twice a child.
Just a few bites of sandwich is all he eats,
she, not much more. His wife watches him fill his pill box,
monitors every breath. Sits with him every night.

Arms flapping to some internal rhythm,
a mother pushes her son to the next appointment
in a custom wheelchair: pads hold his head.
She talks to him, no matter that he looks through her.

Perched on the fence,
meadowlark sings.


A mystery--
black crepe-paper wings,
antennae tipped in orange--
they come every autumn.

I sweep the floor, turn around,
there one sits as if risen
from between the cracks.

Tap, tap, tap-I look up,
another flies at the ceiling.
One, languishing in the
sink's food strainer, startles me.

The fliers migrate from living room
to kitchen. Some, quite still,
near death I presume. The dog, who
inspects everything, ignores them.

I light paper and pine to smoke
them out of the chimney, put saran wrap
over the floor vents, tape the spaces
between the window and sill.
I have yet to find a nest.

I slap a yogurt cup over each wasp,
slide the envelope underneath, release
them outside. Most wander on the rail.

Limb by limb, legs curl under, wings
fold over the back. Antennae
stiffen, the wasp slips into death.


Longer than I have know most of my friends,
I have had that knife. Bought it in Paris.
Small, plastic handle same length as the blade.
We were going to have a wine and cheese party
in the room. Be cosmopolitan.

You could take almost anything on the plane
back then, so I packed it in my bag. Since
then it has followed me to Memphis,
Hillsborough, a few camping spots.

Along the way, I must have used it
as a screwdriver, bent the blade.
Now it makes a ripple in the cheese.
I cut up hot dogs to hide the greyhound's
thyroid medicine. Still pretty sharp,
except for those dents.

And me? I don't remember the names
of the wine and cheeses. Or if we had bread.
Can't recall a single face of the people
I shared it with. Rarely think of Paris,
if at all.

Amarillo Bay May 2011


Octobers, we would watch it sprout
and wait for Spring to grow. I hung to the back crease
of Dad's pants. Short enough to walk between his legs,
like wind weaving through straight, green

stems of May. Don't remember when the stalks
yellowed. Gradually, seed heads began
to bend, from top to last kernel. June, the harvester
separated wheat from chaff. The tractor blade cut low,

the hay rake windrowed, baler spat square bales
until the field was stubble like his face. Thirty Octobers later,
he is too tired to shave. His gray hair, a field of weeds.
He uses a walker, stiff like straw stalks.

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