Monday, 16 August 2021

The Charm

by Miriam O'Neal

This noon, finches claim the feeder—
muddy scarlet house-, and golds in their winter drab.
They flick away the titmice and juncos
who lurk in the privet, grey on buff
or black on grey, who must dart for seeds
while the finches chaff their fill.

I used to wait for him on my perch, hope he’d choose me,
thought I didn’t know how a boy decided.
And no one bothered to explain I was unnerving—
my bookishness a charm of words made most boys flounder.
The years have passed and that bird’s flown
to wives wedded and left, and fledglings

spun in nests of promises, then discarded. And I,
settled as a stone, unwinged?
What should I do with this happiness?

* * * * *

"The Charm" is from Miriam O'Neal's collection, The Half-Said Things, which will come out Spring 2022.

Miriam O'Neal lives in Plymouth, MA. Her collection, The Body Dialogues (Lily Poetry Review Books, 2020) was nominated for the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Mass Book Award. A 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee, O’Neal was named Finalist in the 2019 Princemere Poetry Prize, the 2018 Ablemuse Poetry Prize, and several international poetry competitions. She translates Italian Poetry too. Poems have appeared or are coming out soon in Lily Poetry Review, River Heron Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Nixes Mate Review, and elsewhere. Listen to recordings of her work and/or order books at (or through her publishers or

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