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The Dubose & Dorothy Heyward Society Prize

Ann Herlong-Brodman
Mount Pleasant, SC

 

Ars Poetica

A noisy, restless mockingbird
causes a ruckus atop my neighbor’s chimney
where it sings incessantly a tune
not even his, but the cardinal’s or the chickadee’s, 
an endless copy of what is and what is not, 
ever-cresting, overlapping as he tries to sing it right
while I sit trapped, muttering, 

in the light of a blank computer screen until
I look again and see fluttering in the trees
cardinals, chickadees, also wrens returning, 
singing loudly now, louder still
as if to out-sing the mockingbird, 
as if to sing is to stay alive, as if they would not, 
could not go on without.