Diane Lockward


My husband hung it
from an S hook, eased the curve
over the evergreenís low-hanging
branch. A slanted roof, a hole
wide enough for the small smooth
body of the wren to push through,
too narrow for squirrels or jays.

We could not bear the possibility of loss.

A hinged door, tiny latch we could open
at seasonís end to scrape out the nest.
We offered temptation,
a feeder near the house, filled
with seeds. We did everything
right, hoping the wrens would come
and knowing the house needed
to hang long enough to blend,
so no bird would mistake it for a trap.

We knew something about adaptive
coloration. For months, we imagined
the bundle of grass and twigs, eggs
hatching, the fluttering of wings.
We listened for singing.
We had waited like this once before,
wanting some soft creature to fly in.


Deep-blue hue of the body, silvery bloom
on its skin. Undersized runt of a fruit,
like something that failed to thrive, dented top
a fontanel. Lopsided globe. A temperate zone.
Tiny paradox, tart and sweet, homely
but elegant afloat in sugar and cream,
baked in a pie, a cobbler, a muffin.

The power of blue. Number one antioxidant fruit,
bantam-weight champ in the fight against
urinary tract infections, best supporting actor
in a fruit salad. No peeling, coring, or cutting.
Lay them out on a counter, strands of blue pearls.
Pop one at a time, like M&Mís, into your mouth.
Be a glutton and stuff in a handful, your tongue,
lips, chin dyed blue, as if feasting on indigo.
Fruit of the state of New Jersey.
Favorite fruit of my mother.

Sundays she scooped them into pancake batter,
poured circles onto the hot greased griddle, sizzled
them gold and blue, doused with maple syrup.

This is what I want to remember: my mother
and me, our quilted robes, hair in curlers,
that kitchen, that table,
plates stacked with pancakes, blueberries sparkling
like gemstones, blue stars in a gold sky,
the universe in reverse,
the two of us eating blueberry pancakes.

Diane Lockward
Diane Lockward's collection, Eve's Red Dress, was published by Wind Publications in 2003. A second collection, What Feeds Us, is forthcoming from Wind in 2006. Recent work appears in Poet Lore, North American Review, and Prairie Schooner, as well as in the Poetry Daily anthology and Garrison Keillor's Good Poems for Hard Times. Diane works as a poet-in-the schools for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.



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