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lilyanne kane / poem

Bird Staccato

Students of mine are braiding my hair when it happens,

small hands weaving in small yellow flowers

and blades of grass. Gray hair, they say.

You are old. Is all your family dead?


My family consists of pennies on a

railroad track, I say. Don’t look back.

Their small hands winding dandelion

sprouts through my concrete hair.


\\


The birds fly into the classroom

window in a quick staccato. Three

sparrows, and a hummingbird,

their necks shattered on impact.


I gather limp palm-sized bodies, observe

the splintering where beak met glass. We bury

them in a shoebox in the field behind the school.

Prayers like down feathers float up from us.


//


Saturday, my friend the witch doctor tells me

dead birds are bad omens: difficulties ahead.

She commands me to strip, lights incense

and rubs rosemary oil into my temples.


In the dim light she touches scabs,

skin stitching itself back together

like railroad tracks. She keeps her

finger on my pulse, says nothing.


 

Lilyanne Kane (they/them) can wink with either eye. They’re an avid fan of both ellipses and ampersands… They can be found in liminal spaces across California & also on Twitter @CrumbPrince.

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