Poem | Matins

Photo by Soo Ann Woon on Unsplash




Yesterday, birds found their way under the netting,
beaked off most of the strawberries.
The birds’ gift—next summer more wild
strawberry plants scrambling over the back lot.
Small jewels tasting like stale crackers,
barely a hint of the piquant red-sugar
of the big beauties the birds have stolen.


5 o’clock, deep in sleep on the deck,
I’m awakened by birdsong—a chorus
of robins, tanagers, Oregon juncos,
and tiny blue-feathered somethings—
warbling, trilling, twittering.
Not quite harmony.
Snatches of random tunes—
a snippet of “Little Liza Jane,”
now a bit of “Freight Train,”
now something like a hymn:
“May the Circle be Un-
now a dueling din of chirrups,
tweedles, and tweets.


I rouse myself and pad through the damp grass
to the berry patch to pick a few leftovers
for breakfast before the choristers finish
their encore and beat me to them. This dewy
dawn light brings out truest colors—
leaves, strawberries, yellow-ribbon snake,
three small blue feathers.


Pearly sky, morning star, wisp of waning moon.
I imagine the warblers’ berry-colored repertoire
includes tunes about star, moon, and strawberries—
yesterday’s and tomorrow’s.

Published in the March 2020 issue: 

Judy Brackett lives in a small town in the northern Sierra Nevada foothills of California. Her poems have appeared in Epoch, the Maine Review, Catamaran, Commonweal, Midwest Review, the Midwest Quarterly, Subtropics, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, Flat Water: Nebraska Poems, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019.

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