Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

"What the Birds Know"

Stephanie Pruitt is a poet and teaching artist with community-based organizations including Youth Speaks Nashville and the Magdalene House. A Cave Canem Fellow and member of the Affrilachian Poets, Pruitt received the 2010 Academy of American Poets Prize, the 2009 Sedberry Prize, was a finalist for Poets and Writers’ Magazine‘s Maureen Egen Award, and was named one of “Forty Favorite Poets” by Essence magazine in honor of its fortieth anniversary. This week she will receive her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Vanderbilt University. Pruitt lives with her family in Nashville.

READ Chapter 16‘s profile of Stephanie Pruitt, “Looking Forward to a Life in Poetry.”

What the Birds Know

Not a single crow has weighted

     my clothesline in four days. No droppings

on white sheets or feathers to pick

     from the stockings I hang between them.

They made letters and shapes in the sky.

     The leaves turn and fall. Winds bow

my head and pull me inward while they move

     towards some unseen urge. What V words

do I know? Which arrows might I follow?