Cassandra Robison - "Roosts," "February in North Florida," and "No Small Deaths."


In the summer of white birds, cattle egrets loft,

wings agoggle; stragglers skid to a stop

on newly-sodded lawns.

They wobble on orange legs,


stare us right in the eye,

surprised by human presence here:

60 by 120 plots of bulldozed ground, lumber and nails,

and a golf course stretching on to the horizon.


In a flurry of wings, they lift back up into sky,

seeking their flock at the concrete retention pond,

all that is left of the lake.

They pace and pluck at grass,


look for the old roosts,

ones deep in their blood, but those roosts are gone

forever. Still, they arrive, flock after white

flock, searching for a lost haven.


Transients now, they float above

us like ghosts.



February in North Florida

“Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” Mark 15:34


A want of color, a landscape stripped, a world

awash in uniform gray, a season of

holding on.


Tenacious rooted trees loom against

leaden sky like Rorschachs, seem to groan

in mid night,


pushed to the edge by storm. So it is we

who, famished by February, pray

for deliverance.


Dream of Narcissus pushing through

green earth, and a halo of tiny suns





South Florida, 2007


West in the primeval glades, wildfires rage.

Dark smoke rises, snakes across scorched earth,

seeps into human spaces on South Ocean Drive.

Where in reply, the yellow warblers, stunned


in ash affliction fall from the sky,

or perch dazed

upon café chairs or flail themselves

against the windows of trendy boulevard shops

and high-rise condos. That’s the nature

of grief.


An ashen silence palls. It’s Mother’s Day;

Your voice remains hesitant, unsure,

about this bird madness

though clearly it’s  mourning,

and not just for these stricken yellow birds,

but some ache even now unspeakable,

the nebulous child that grew but six weeks.

I imagine your own grief flinging itself

against those mirrored panes; you sip your tea.

Neither of us speaks the truth that hovers


between us. What else to do but pray for rain

in such a season of fire and drought and small

deaths that sear inner and outer landscapes. 


Cassandra Robison

Faculty advisor for the award-winning Florida student literary magazine, Imprints, Cassandra Robison’s poetry and prose have been published in various print and online journals, including The FigThe Piedmont ReviewArtistry of LifeMannequin Envy, SunspinnerAdagio Verse QuarterlyWord Riot, and Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poems. Three poems were published in the June 2006 anthology Washing the Color of Water Golden. Her review of Lynn Strongin’s chapbook Dovey & Me is included in One poem is upcoming in Southern Hum. Originally from upstate New York, Dr. Robison currently lives, teaches, and finds her muse in Ocala, where she is associate professor of English at Central Florida Community College.

Posted on December 7, 2013 .