ONLINE BONUS: Looking for Spoonbills

This morning I see robins are back,

the first birds I learned by name. How many

lessons were written on the blackboard,


the worksheets, the little red desk? My mother

thought everything good in my life came

down to Miss Chase, my first grade teacher.


Not the hesitant Sunday School teachers

up the circle stairs to a rickety room

where I pasted noodles onto blue paper.


In school  I never found out what moves

on the soft bed of the Atlantic, what makes

its own light in the dark, its body transparent,


its skin flashing. O, Miss Chase, didn’t you

realize huge plates of earth crash into

each other? All I know has been flipped


upside down and shaken out like a giant

snow globe. This morning Curtis Adams,

teaching on TV, says I can do it, woo-hooing


to show how hard a workout I do

though I’m in a chair fluttering my legs

and lifting 2-pound weights. Sometimes


I’m threadbare, but on the TV, Florida gleams

in the heat. My mother met me in Florida

once, too old to fly though I didn’t know it


till she came through the gate unsteadily.

She was smiling, ready to find roseate spoonbills,

pelicans, limpkins, eager to learn something new.

Barbara Daniels’s Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press in 2020. Her poetry has appeared in Lake Effect, Cleaver, Faultline, Small Orange, Meridian, and elsewhere. Barbara Daniels received a 2020 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.