Barbara Crooker


The echo of the mockingbird resounds in our chimney
as he practices his warm-up scales—
a few high trills, a couple of cat calls, then
into his repertoire of cardinal, oriole, thrush,
repeated motifs, his own theme & variations.
Sound fills the yard, swirls into the trumpets of the lilies.
And my son David sings his own song:
snips of commercials, fragments of Sesame Street,
finger plays from school—echolalia, the speech
therapists call it, this repetition of what's heard,
sounds rebounding inside his head.
Last week in the supermarket,
he recited a month old dialogue
between a friend and their teacher,
like an old television show that has
bounced into space, or a late night
radio band from Kentucky, loud and clear.
In my ears, these snatches of both their melodies
reverberate, resound. And all I can do
is write it down, write it down.

Barbara Crooker's manuscript Radiance recently won the Word Press First Book award and was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize in July. Her work has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, Smartish Pace, America, Poetry International, Cream City Review, Nimrod and other journals. She is the mother of a 23 year old son with autism.