Cover art by Robert Ferre

ABOUT Sybil Pittman Estess

Walking the Labyrinth is Sybil Pittman Estess’s third book of poetry. Former books were Seeing the Desert Green (Latitudes Press) and Blue, Candled in January Sun (Word Tech Communications). Her other books include Elizabeth Bishop and Her Art, co-edited essays on Elizabeth Bishop (University of Michigan Press), and In a Field of Words (Prentice Hall), a creative-writing textbook co-written with Janet McCann. She has an anthology of contemporary multi-cultural writings in three genres, Common Ground. Estess is widely published in such journals as The Paris Review, Shenandoah, Southern Poetry Review, Western Humanities Review, The Texas Review, Concho River Review, New Texas, Windhover, Rattle, and other journals.
Estess’s website is, and she can be reached at

Pecan Grove Press

Walking the Labyrinth

Sybil Pittman Estess

ISBN: 978-1-931247-41-2 $15

“Enter the labyrinth with Sybil Pittman Estess; at every turn, prepare to be amazed. Why, look, here’s Diane Sawyer! Take a right turn, and you’re in Albuquerque, or is it Galveston, or the Colorado Rockies? Go left, and there’s Heathcliff chasing Catherine. Enter the switchback, and you run into Jesus at the pagoda. Along the way, read these poems of loss and grief, poems of surprising discovery. This is poetry you will want to carry with you on your own journey through this enigmatic life. There’s a scent of roses in the air. Everything is just about to open. “
Barbara Crooker, author of Radiance, winner of the Thomas Merton Poetry Prize.

Stuck Birds Dream

She lives in a cold, high place in the Rockies,
the sublime she’d tried to reach in many dreams.
She’s built a house and moved there to the peak.
She can see all the bright sights she’d longed for.
Now she sits all day looking. Noon she leaves
her site to buy food. Just as soon as
she escapes, a meteorite hits it, missing
her on the walk. Calamity can come
any moment, she thinks, crush flat all
she came here for. It can harrow her house
on the tip-top of a peak. Then she gazes up,
sees pink clouds, cheery, bright, girlish,
Disney-like. Yet huge black crows peck
the pink puffs to pieces, slowly. So crows grow
to resemble an Ernst or a Magritte.

All the while, her stepfather fades
and the malignant tumor takes
his last lung. He stays painfully chained
to his lost life much too long.

“Thanatos,” the crows say when she asks them
their name. They speak detached, and devour
the pink moisture they seem glued to. “Shoo!”
she says. “Shoo! Won’t you leave here? Won’t you
let this pink float in peace?” But that blue
canvas is still stuck, sucked by rooks, black
and cannibal.

Fire and sooty earth meet to eat
water. Gone, gone is all holy air.

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Most recent revision
November 11, 2003

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