Sounds good

American Life in Poetry

The ocarina call of a mourning dove, a woman mourning the death of a pet, and yet it all comes to looking forward to more and more life, whatever is there, wherever the mourning dove will lead her. Linda Parsons lives in Knoxville, and her most recent book is “Candescent,” from Iris Press.


I hear before seeing, no need to see

to know morning’s ocarina, plaintive

call, soft strut on leafmeal. It was the first

creature I saw when the needle was done

and my sheepdog limped into last night.

That dove, I thought, will house his sable

spirit, coat feathered like joy in the wind. 

Dove comes when my scattered mind

needs herding – bitter anniversaries,

leavings dire as tornadic rumble. Comes

when sky rivers blue, cooing all’s well

after all. Comes not to forbid mourning,

but trills core deep, beyond the senses,

glances back to make sure I follow

its white-tipped tail. Plaintive ocarina,

call me to bear all the light coming.