Published Poetry: A Post Mostly for My Students


(Update 8/1/2019) My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, is available as a paperback, e-book and as an Audible.  It launched as a #1 new release in several categories including educator memoirs, survivor memoirs, and near-death experiences.  I hope my book helps make near-death experiences more mainstream.

Poetry, however, was my first love and focus in graduate school. My Creative Writing students sometimes ask to see my published poetry, and I usually wait until the end of the semester to show them any of my work.

I only sent out my poetry between the years of 2006-2008.  Here are a few of those poems.  These poems aren’t representative of some of my larger themes in my writing, but they are the ones that were chosen for publication.


There is meekness in the bow of your head

beneath your curved back,

but even humility and sensitivity

will not save you now.

Do you remember when you

raised your folded wings at right angles

from your abdomen, showing off

the white edgings of your thorax and wing pads?

You trembled for the mate you wanted,

and she looked back at you

as if the moon glowed from inside you.

You believed passion could last forever,

denying that all we have are flashes.


Still, you never imagined this ending—

an abandoned condo by a pond,

shadows extending like frail, human arms,

no food or even cereal crumbs in the kitchen,

and only my mint-flavored, disappointing toothbrush

hanging precariously near the edge of the sink.


How could you know that surveys

list you as the most despised creature on earth?

How could you possibly deduce

that the angry fall of a boot

he left behind would become

your last moment on earth?

@ 2002 by Tricia Barker

Published in Paterson Literary Review in 2008



As the city lights begin to salt the hilltops,

a woman becomes restless; her head is full of the wit

of crows, and her fate is tangled in the act of finding

one of their feathers by her doorstep.  The feather feels light

in her hands, and she wonders which direction it might blow.

From her kitchen window, she observes how the crows

look like pieces of a ragged night scattered

across the final moments of the day.


They are the antithesis of stars, with a mystical sheen

of their own and wholly delighted to be crows as they

squawk into each other’s faces, slowly lift one foot into the air,

or dunk their ruffled heads into the dog’s bucket of water.

The woman wonders why her soup does not taste better,

why her skin does not greedily soak up the air around her,

and why these final days of summer do not burst

with the bruised pleasure of black lights, drumbeats,

and a new lover, smelling slightly of tobacco and amber,

a lover who might dip a small, velvety sumi brush

in honey, paint it on her body and then gently lick

it off while black wings flutter in the corner of her eye,

the shimmering, happy bodies of crows.

@ 2006 by Tricia Barker

Published in The Midwest Quarterly (Pittsburgh State University) in 2009



When Narcissus left for work,

I would put on the sandals he wore

to feel closer to him.  My feet would soak up the remnants of the love

he had for his feet, his body,

and after a while, I realized

that in his mind

I was less important

than the ground he walked on.

@ 2006 by Tricia Barker

Published in Iodine Poetry Journal in 2008

The theme in this last poem is an important one for empaths.  Recently, I have discovered the work of breakthrough life coach Lisa A. Romano.  Empaths are often drawn to narcissists in many different capacities.  They can also be the target of sociopaths, so it is important for empaths to learn to protect themselves.  If you are interested in this topic, I highly suggest checking out some of Lisa A. Romano’s YouTube videos.



Images:  The painting of the pond can be found at this link.   I found the beautiful crows on Pinterest at this link.

13 thoughts on “Published Poetry: A Post Mostly for My Students

  1. I really enjoyed reading “Cockroach Beside my Toothbrush”. It was a little funny and interesting to dive in to the life of a cockroach and see things from their perspective. It almost made me feel bad for the little cockroach. All they want is love and a good life, but usually just end up getting killed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leah,

      I normally set most insects free, but I have been known to kill a few cockroaches. They are despised by most people, but they don’t know that. Poor things… I saw a cool invention online that allows you to trap a spider and set it free. I might have to invest in that. Thanks for reading my work:-) Have a wonderful holiday!


  2. Ms. Barker – I loved all of your poems but my favorite was “The Magic of Crows”. I absolutely loathe poetry but these poems had a rythmn that made them all so much easier to understand. Comprehending poetry has always been so difficult but your poems created a vivid picture in my head that made reading them enjoyable!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you liked that one! You can rejoice that English 1302 is over, and you might not have to study poetry anymore. I bet you’ll be able to recognize a few of the famous poets from now on though:-) Good luck with your future studies.


  3. Ms. Barker, out of the three poems “Cockroach Beside my Toothbrush” is my favorite. Love the humor portrayed in the poem. Thank you for your discussions over poetry in 1302. You have made poetry a little more fun and more understandable for me.


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