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Featured Writer

Brian Clements


Manakin 1277.3 by Roger Camp

We were in the back yard playing badminton, the kids shouting at each other about whose fault it was they lost the last point, when a fledgling followed by two eggs fell splat on the stoop from the nest at the corner of the gutter. The kids stopped yelling at each other and started yelling at me—half crying in sorrow, half afraid for the bird and that the bird might fly at them—its wings splayed, one flapping, the other still as if pinned to the ground. I wrapped it in a paper towel and lifted it, no heavier than a dime, the kids commanding me save it don’t let it die. It clung to the edge of the nest then jumped down again and the kids shouted it was my fault so I picked it up again this time with another napkin Don’t ever touch a little bird I told the kids because the mother will smell the human on the baby though I didn’t even know for sure whether birds had a sense of smell and will stop taking care of it. At this they fell silent, and I placed the fledgling in the nest. It stayed, and I whispered to it fly


About the writer:
Brian Clements is an American poet who is the author or editor of fifteen collections of poetry, including the anthology  An Introduction to the Prose Poem, volumes of poetry from Quale Press, Texas Review Press, and Meritage Press, and of some unique and compelling projects online.

Image: Manakin 1277.3 by Roger Camp (contemporary). Fine art photograph. No technical information specified. 2021. By permission. Roger Camp is the author of three photography books including the award-winning Butterflies in Flight, Thames & Hudson, 2002 and Heat, Charta, Milano, 2008. His documentary photography has been awarded the prestigious Leica Medal of Photography. His photographs are represented by the Robin Rice Gallery, NYC. His work has appeared in The New England Review, Southwest Review, Chicago Review and the New York Quarterly. More of his work may be seen at

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supporting writers and artists worldwide.

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