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By Ross Gay

    for Keith and Jen

Friends I am here to modestly report

seeing in an orchard

in my town

a goldfinch kissing

a sunflower

again and again

dangling upside down

by its tiny claws

steadying itself by snapping open

like an old-timey fan

its wings

again and again,

until, swooning, it tumbled off

and swooped back to the very same perch,

where the sunflower curled its giant

swirling of seeds

around the bird and leaned back

to admire the soft wind

nudging the bird’s plumage,

and friends I could see

the points on the flower’s stately crown

soften and curl inward

as it almost indiscernibly lifted

the food of its body

to the bird’s nuzzling mouth

whose fervor

I could hear from

oh 20 or 30 feet away

and see from the tiny hulls

that sailed from their

good racket,

which good racket, I have to say

was making me blush,

and rock up on my tippy-toes,

and just barely purse my lips

with what I realize now

was being, simply, glad,

which such love,

if we let it,

makes us feel.


Notes:

The epigraph of this poem was originally omitted in the changeover to the new website. Because of this, reciting the epigraph is optional for the 2019-2020 Poetry Out Loud season.

Ross Gay, "Wedding Poem" from Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. Copyright © 2015 by Ross Gay.  Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

Source: Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015)

  • Living
  • Love
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Ross Gay
Ross Gay was born in Youngstown, Ohio. Gay is an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press and is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin.' He earned a BA from Lafayette College, an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and a PhD in English from Temple University. He teaches at Indiana University. See More By This Poet

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