Carolina Wrens

For Rick Barot


The definition of metaphor

is the transfer of burden,

so pay attention.


There is the heron of my longing:

the curve of neck, stilt of legs,

blue, breakable, prone to flight.


The summer of my certainty:

lit with streaks of a fox’s tail

slipping back into the woods.


The house of my mother’s madness:

worn front steps lost

to waist high weeds and debt.


Now watch a small bird building

her nest inside a watering can,

darting each piece of straw through


the one round opening.

Imagine a young chick learning

to fly by launching itself skyward,


the stunned drop to the bottom,

rattle of wings inside metal,

mocking blue coin of sky,

and name it.


Maggie Blake Bailey has published poems in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume V: Georgia, Tar River, Slipstream, and elsewhere. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and her chapbook, Bury the Lede, is available from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Atlanta with husband and young daughter. For more work, please visit