The poetry of Terri Kirby Erickson

Free Breakfast

The Springhill Suites free breakfast area
was filling up fast when a man carrying his
disabled young son, lowered him into his
chair the same way an expert pilot’s airplane
kisses the runway when it lands. And all the
while, the man whispered into his boy’s ear,
perhaps telling him about the waffle maker
that was such a hit with the children gathered
around it, or sharing the family’s plans for the
day as they traveled to wherever they were
going. Whatever was said, the boy’s face was
alight with some anticipated happiness. And
the father, soon joined by the mother, seemed
intent on providing it. So beautiful they all
were, it was hard to concentrate on our eggs
and buttered toast, to look away when the
parents placed their hands on the little boy’s
shoulders and smiled at one another, as if
they were the luckiest people in the room.



Red Dahlias

This steep hillside,
yellowed and shorn
of its tall grasses,

is dull as a dusty
floorboard except
where dahlias

grow. Redder than
raspberries, they
move like women

so lovely, men
are afraid of them—
a floral flamenco

without sound. Yet,
the wind sings for
them and a screen

door claps as red
dresses swirl above
tender green ankles.

Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of five full-length collections of poetry, including Becoming the Blue Heron (Press 53, 2017), which was a Finalist for Poetry in the International Book Awards. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Life in PoetryAsheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Connotation Press, Boston Literary Magazine, Journal of the American Medical Association, North Carolina Literary Review, The Poet’s Market, storySouth, The Christian Century, The Writer’s Almanac, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily, and numerous others. Among her many awards are the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, Atlanta Review International Publication Prize, and a Nautilus Silver Book Award. She lives in Pfafftown, North Carolina.


  1. I read Terri Kirby Erickson’s poems after waking from a sound sleep and while sipping my morning coffee. Her words and appreciations were a lovely welcome to a new day.


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