Far from woodland or savanna, a rafter
of wild turkeys, at least a dozen in my yard,
their black bellies and iridescent wings
glistening in sunlight. Behind the glass,
I sat still and watched, repulsed
by the fleshy caruncles across each head,
the jiggly red wattles and dangling rope-like
flaps of skin on the throat,
and from the center of the breast, a tuft
of small feathers that had failed to grow.
They waddled and strutted and swiveled
their long necks like periscopes.
They dipped their beaks into the bird bath,
investigated the feeders, and foraged
the ground for seeds and nuts.
They cast long, dark shadows.
Two hens moved away from the group
and poked the piles of dead leaves, as if
looking for something they’d lost.
The biggest gobbler looked in at me.
I heard his low-pitched drumming noise.
He was not afraid, but I clutched my belly,
beating with child, this time my last hope.
I prayed hard that these feathered creatures
were no omens or portents, just birds on a stroll.
After they left, I searched outside for a feather,
an amulet for the seed blooming inside me.
Diane Lockward is the author of three poetry books, most recently Temptation by Water. Her previous books are What Feeds Us, which received the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, and Eve’s Red Dress. She is also the author of The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop (Wind Publications, 2013). Her poems have been included in such anthologies as Poetry Daily: 360 Poems from the World’s Most Popular Poetry Website and Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems for Hard Times, and in such journals as Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac.