Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 21 . . .


     by Carolyn Martin

Foil crackling? No. That scratching sound

       announces grating news:

                     Another bird is caught.

Our stovepipe prisons small black wings

       lured down the chimney, down

                     the flue by some dark impulse, down 

until their pleas outwit my reasoning.

       They should mean brighter things

                     like presents, cookies, cake unwrapped,

not this unset trap I’m dared to spring.

       I know the drill: unfasten door, dislodge the pipe,

                     persuade the flagging wings to flight.

But still I fear imprisoned things—

       fear this bird exploding into light

                     will miss the door and flail around

the kitchen walls more frantic than before.

       What’s to choose? Its slow dark death

                     or, perhaps, another kind of death.


After forty years in the academic and business worlds, Carolyn Martin is happily retired in Clackamas, OR. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of publications including Christian Century, The Wild, and Four and Twenty. Currently, she is president of the board of VoiceCatcher, an anthology featuring women writers and artists in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area.


© 2011 Carolyn Martin