Sidewalk, Bakery

by Adrian Gibbons Koesters

No broken shrub, this bird,
body the exploded dandelion,
wings two lashes of bamboo
leaf, slate-ink on paper.

Adrian Gibbons Koesters’ work has recently appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Hotel Amerika, International Poetry Review, Saranac Review, and elsewhere. She is a fiction editor at A River and Sound Review, and hosts the online recorded reading series for Air Schooner at Prairie Schooner magazine. She lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she teaches writing.

What is the origin of “Sidewalk, Bakery”?

    The story of “Sidewalk, Bakery” takes a little longer to tell than the poem itself. One morning this past fall as I was leaving a bakery and going over to my car, under a tree on the sidewalk I nearly kicked out of the way what I thought was a small branch with an open pod of some kind on it. When I looked closer, I saw that it was a small brown and grey bird that had fallen and died. The body appeared as a near-perfect circle of puffed-out pin-feathers, and the beak and angles of the bird’s legs were “composed” like bamboo leaves in a sumi-e painting. That spare appearance was what I tried to replicate in the poem, which I hope I was able to do.
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