House of the Tomato

If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato. -- Erica Jong

Regional website for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, in partnership with the Reader's Loft.


Celebrating, sharing and inspiring poetry throughout Wisconsin.

Dear Chickadee

For decades I’ve been trying to write the poem about my Dad channeling a chickadee. His family call (in a store, in the woods, ) was the chickadee mating call. I’ve tossed many unrelated drafts. I began again. Here it is: Do I get the point across that he’s a chickadee keeping watch over me?

Dear Chickadee

You keep four seasons at our feeder
fluffed and vibrating
at 50 below in the wind.

Chick a dee dee dee
you beak a sunflower seed
carry morsel to the maple branch,

Tap-tap against the bark,
split open and eat,
then back to the feeder.

Pluck, fly, tap, eat
and repeat. How many seeds
will satisfy the bitter of 50 below?

When maple sap runs
you call Hone-ey,Hone-ey,
little black cap, looking for a mate.

Dad borrowed your mating call
whistling Hon-ey, Hon-ey for his brood
to return to the roost.

Listen, dear chickadee
I hear him in you,
calling us home.


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