Joanne Rocky Delaplaine


Grackles are flying in parabolas. On the grass, foraging. Now fence, now goal
tree, goal post, fence, now back to grass. Four and twenty, times three, give or
Plumly says This world, says Look, says Count the blackbirds. Unlike geese,

flock in a circularity, a pie, opened.  Instead of one, they all seem to lead. Yoga master B.K.S Iyengar—Each cell in our body, an intelligence. Grackles, me, a democracy. We live by magnetism. Females, these, nutmeg brown, not
iridescent blue-black.

Fort Reno Park, eating lunch after teaching class. It's Thursday, mid-June, the sky, clear. Clouds, like grackles, unraveling fringe. Behind me a tennis match.
Two men
speaking Russian.  Thwack . . . thwack . . . another parabola, yellow-green.

My father's unreturnable serve. Dad, mom, three or more kids on the tennis
C'mon dad, ease up. Fenced behind the birds, a stone water tower as medieval castle turret. The prince to Rapunzel, Let down your golden hair.  A man
practices golf.

I ask him about the park.  He says, Highest elevation in the city, largest of the
Civil War
ring forts . . . The trip uptown, Whitman and his friend . . . Doyle . . .  Peter. If
you were in love
with a trolley conductor wouldn't you bring him here, or come for the breeze?

The grackles graze by four sloping locust trees. My fickle heart wants to lift,
head straight for blue, between those clouds, or, like grackles, fly up, then return
to earth. Birds, clouds make the air visible. There they go again. . . a gust . . . .


after Elizabeth Bishop

The planet's getting hotter, melting faster.
Al Gore implores, Beware of greenhouse gases,
relinquish fossil fuels or court disaster.

The dinosaurs died out, Velociraptor,
then Mastodon and Woolly Mammoth. Alas,
poor fossils fuel a planet's melting faster.

No one thought the dodo's end of vast or
weighty note. Flightless, happy, plump-ass:
They didn't call its passing a disaster.

Oil spills pollute our seas and rivers.
Habitats are shrinking for gorillas.
The planet's getting hotter, melting faster.

Extinct: the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker,
Though briefly seen in Arkansas and Texas.
Could fossil fuels be causing this disaster?

Some say the loss of species doesn't matter.
So what: no frogs, no newts, no cranes, no pandas?
The planet's getting hotter, melting faster.
When we're extinct, no beast will cry, Disaster.

Joanne Rocky Delaplaine lives and writes in Bethesda, Maryland. Her poems have appeared in Poet Lore; Beltway: A Poetry Quarterly, (Walt Whitman & Wartime Issues); Cabin Fever: Poets at Joaquin Miller’s Cabin, 1984-2001; WordWrights; Other Testaments, Volume 1; The Old Testament; Friends Journal;  and elsewhere.  She teaches  a workshop called Expressing The Sacred: Yoga, Poetry and Prayer. A short story of hers won first prize in the Bethesda Literary Festival.



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