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Mimus polyglottos

By Karen Lee Lewis

I recognize the scowl on the face of the Mockingbird –

it is my father’s disapproving glare staring back at me

under gray feathers. Such a ready likeness

in its haughty posture that I listen a little deeper,

understand more clearly his many tongued rebukes.

My choir master. My moon mocker.

He didn’t know that there was music inside of me.

So I took up lessons with the field and the brook.

Held in my hands an accordion book

that taught me to reseed the landscape of ridicule.

Some days he was all echo and flash;

on fewer days a bassoon in love.

Lord of lesser birds, you plagiarize my memory.

KAREN LEE LEWIS will join poet Jennifer Attaway in a Wordflight Series reading Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Crane Branch Library, 633 Elmwood Ave. (upstairs) in Buffalo. A poet, photographer, teaching artist and Teacher Consultant for the Western New York Writing Project at Canisius College, she is the author of “What I Would Not Unravel,” a full-length poetry collection published by The Writer’s Den Books. Mimus polyglottos is the species name of the Northern Mockingbird.