I’m 68. I lived for decades with a poet’s soul, hoarding scraps of paper in drawers. I earned a living doing traditional communications work – editing and producing brochures, press releases, and annual reports; proofreading publications; coordinating print specs for municipal agencies. In 2007, I retired and immediately reread Leaves of Grass. My last poetry publication had been in a New Haven, Connecticut tabloid called View from the Bottom, and the poem was about menstruation. I started submitting to journals. One poem got published in a local community college journal, a nice arty annual publication. Others found rejections.
I had to find a way to cope with the rejections of a fledgling wanna-be- published poet. I wrote “Flight.”
I have one husband, one dog, and one database.
The first hints what I could do next,
the second tells me minute to minute how great I am,
and the third tracks where my poems fly to,
when they first come home settling like flickers
drumming at my metal flashing.
I know my percentages – what
ends up online or printed. The others
are homing pigeons – soft coos coming back
to me. After a rest, I coax them out of their fat nests.
I plump their feathers, preen beside them,
feed them some blueberries,
or admire their little red feet.
Their rattle at the door of the coop brings
a small relief. Oh, I’d rather have the editor say
this is exactly what we didn’t know we needed,
you’re the best – but those two-sentence emails,
that say we read every line and it just isn’t right
for this now, this issue. They’re ok.
My feathered friend came home, offering
second chances. Off we go to the park
and watch crows while it nestles
in my soft-cupped hand.
At this point, well over a hundred of my poems are in journals or anthologies. My chapbook Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press) focuses on the interactions of humans and wildlife in urban habitat. Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press) combines lyric and eco-poetry to evoke a special place to me, Manzanita, Oregon on the coast.
Tricia Knoll’s Ocean Laughter is now available at Amazon.com from Aldrich Press. Her collection Urban Wild is now available from Finishing Line Press. You can read more about her work at triciaknoll.com.