D. Walsh Gilbert is the author of Ransom (Grayson Books), Once the Earth had Two Moons (Cerasus Poetry), and imagine the small bones (Grayson Books), a full-length book of poems in communication with the art of fish and birds. A double Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in Gleam, The Lumiere Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, and forthcoming, Thimble Literary Magazine, among others. She serves on the board of the non-profit, Riverwood Poetry Series, and as co-editor of Connecticut River Review.
In Response to “Beautiful Short Loser”
by Ocean Vuong, Time is a Mother
Pushcart Nominee 2022
Ocean, my tree is a grand-mother,
an apple tree at least a hundred
years old, supporting birdhouse,
feeder, prayer to Brigid who
also weathers rain. My body
has always been too big, lush
as its green land of origin.
Green voices in the rain, green rain in the voices,
so you said. The last poem in
my collection says I am a cage,
in search of a bird. A finch to light
in this apple tree I keep—I keep
plump and rosy-red each September.
A Honeybee in Connecticut
Whether nectar-drunk, lost, or simply disoriented,
a honeybee, buzzing louder than its small body
should be able to, bumps my window’s glass
again and again.
It can’t free itself from behind the double-
glazed wall despite an opening only inches
to its left. It can see the field, the leafy
hydrangea vine climbing the wall, sees the way
it came; yet something invisible holds it back.
I free it from its misery, cranking the casement
wider, the opening now more & more impossible
to miss, until the bee catches the summer freshness,
escapes on the eddy of a breeze.
I could have shut
the window just as easily. Trapping it between
the pane and window screen, I could have
closed this honeybee closer to my world, listened
to its stumble, heard its confusion in wing beats.
I could have kept it to myself. But,
it deserved to find its own hive, to churn
royal jelly and feed it to its queen. I understand
that vital urgency, that need to be complete:
why my daughters settled in the West. And look,
a dust of pollen on the sill.
Age 84 in Dog-Years
In the month of Queen Anne’s Lace,
he sits on his haunches
behind the fence—
my old dog,
the animal equivalent of a crumbling
barn, its stalls left open,
the horses gone.
Stone deaf and half blind,
he sniffs what’s familiar.
Remember when making your way
to the shore as a kid—
the scent of sun-warm marsh
and salt? of August?
of summer nearly over?
A dog and Queen Anne’s Lace,
two strangers who know
each other very well.
to hobble into the tall grass,
but I don’t want
to open the gate.