Clade Song 9

Pileated Woodpecker

A woodpile in summer
is a winter wasted,
fires that did not crackle
and marshmallows never burned,

until a pileated woodpecker
lights on it with a bang
as logs roll and the cat runs
to look out the door
and all of May makes up for
the anything that never happened.

When the woodpecker flies,
its red knot an ember,
I let go of regret.


Felicia Mitchell’s poems explore the natural world, memories, family stories, the intersections of myth and truth, and sometimes illness. Waltzing with Horses (Press 53) is her first full-length poetry collection. Her poems have appeared in miscellaneous journals and anthologies, and she is excited to be included in the forthcoming Mountains Piled upon Mountains: Appalachian Nature Writing in the Anthropocene edited by Jessica Corey for WVU Press.  Learn more: