Elements and Briars


52 pages
6" x 6" single signature with hand sewn binding
Published December 2016

Many of the poems in Kindra McDonald’s Elements & Briars were written in response to the author’s close analysis and deconstruction of the stories contained in 1001 Arabian Nights. This chapbook is filled with powerful imagery – relationships, womanhood, motherhood, home and hearth – as well as social commentary, irony, sarcasm and well-crafted language.


Yesterday a bird latched onto a silver gum wrapper
scavenging for treasures to store away in nests.
A broken soda tab, a slivered corner of a chip bag.
The confetti of junk food, gold ribbons unspooled
from cigarette packs, a spray of glass, all of it
shining in the sunlight, bathed and new.

Today you taught me how to make the fragile
blown out eggs of your childhood Easters.
We re-enact by memory, sticking a needle in both ends,
balancing over a bowl and blowing the yolk steadily through
the hole. It is even more delicate now, this empty
vessel. We write promises in wax and color it the old way-
with onionskins, berries, and beets. Letting it dry, we
lacquer it with shiny varnish till it gleams like wet leaves.
It’s stronger now, not indestructible, but less likely to crack.

Glossy they sit in our manmade nests on the coffee table,
reflecting the shaft of sunlight through the picture window.
They are old and they are new. They are reminders of how
we reinforce the things we love, polishing out the dull. 
The sparrows keep house in the crepe myrtles
they sing us awake hocking their sleek trinkets in the trees.