Claudia Buckholts: “Measuring the Spaces”


In Woolworth’s, a line of blue parakeets
and yellow finches sways on a bar singing
wildly, the torrent of caged song falling

like rain, a wave spreading out. A world
of wide spaces awaits me—but not these
birds: too tropical for this climate,

destined for other cages. In the plant
section, I admire a tradescantia wrapped
in a haze of purple light, a creamy white

gardenia scenting the aisles, plush leaves
an intense green. Among a crowd of
Saturday shoppers, I pay at the register

for a tape measure that extends to full
length before its metal ribbon snaps back.
At home, I measure the rooms of my house,

the spaces in between, imagining birds
uncaged, winging into the tilting sky.

Claudia Buckholts has received Creative Writing Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and she has won the Grolier Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Indiana Review, Minnesota Review, New American Writing, Prairie Schooner, Southern ReviewTar River Poetry, and others. Buckholts also has published two books, Bitterwater and Traveling Through the Body.

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