It has become a roost, this house
passed on daily treks,
host to a flock, thirty strong,
of pink and white flamingoes.
Trailer-park-tacky birds gather
near an elegant formal garden.
Roses so fragrant in June
drivers open car windows
when passing by.
As the roses bloom, the flock
starts to migrate
around the yard after each mowing.
It adds a little whimsy
that breaks their plastic spell.
I begin to imagine
the owner’s nostalgia,
how the birds might recall
a childhood now all but lost
or a favorite aunt
whose sense of style
came from a life less privileged,
born of thrift and the desire
for a bit of prettiness, some escape.
Or perhaps the birds recall
a mother, not unlike my own,
a poor farmer’s wife who created beauty
as best she could, from the earth,
planting zinnias in circular beds
rimmed by tractor tires
Dad dug in for her
and tenderly painted white.
She would have loved flamingoes.
From Miracle of the Wine: New and Selected Poems (Grayson Books, 2012).
Used with the author’s permission.
Kathe L. Palka is an editor for the online micropoetry journal http://tinywords.com/ and a member of the U.S. 1 Poets’ Cooperative and the Haiku Poets of the Garden State (HPGS). Winner of the Snapshot Press 2011 eChapbook Award for her short tanka collection, As the Years Pass, her latest book is A Path of Desire (Red Moon Press, 2015), a collection created with Peter Newton in the collaborative Japanese form of tan renga. In celebration of this year's National Poetry Month, Kathe has work on display in a haiku sign installation at the New Jersey State Botanical Garden in Ringwood, New Jersey. Kathe lives near Flemington, New Jersey, with her husband Joe and their beloved Pembroke Welsh corgi Garth. An avid gardener, she enjoys wandering the parklands of her native state whenever time permits. Learn more about Kathe at www.kathepalka.com or from her Poet's Profile here on YDP.
A poem of such feeling and compassion for possible reasons why all those flamingos, and that wonderful memory of your own dear mom and dad.
Posted 04/18/2018 05:00 PM
Great insight. We ought not judge others' tastes in decor.
Posted 04/18/2018 04:37 PM
I admit I wouldn't want a yard of 30+ flamingos but the poem is a touching example of why we shouldn't be so judgmental of others' likes & dislikes. A whole new perspective, lovely.
Posted 04/18/2018 11:44 AM
I like the way the poem connects these lawn ornaments to life, love, and yearning. Nicely done!
Posted 04/18/2018 09:08 AM