Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
 print preview


Afterwards, pregnant,
she moved into a third-floor apartment
and spent her cash on reprints.
And in them, the men,
the mythmakers, who heard her story
told in the bird’s words,
turned her—in picture after picture—
into tragic furniture or
a doll-body draped
around the roundness of the god
of gods, whose extended neck
lanced across her belly
and pinned her under
a mountain of feathers.

While the creatures grew and dabbled
within her, she drew portraits of herself
not as woman or beast,
but as machine—
a windmill with lines as hard
as her jaw and blades spotlighted
with wind lines.
To be efficient, quotidian, intact—
not Dutch nor quixotic:
this was her wish.
Flowerless, her landscapes were filled
with fissures in the earth, outlines
of cliffs as broad as giant’s legs,
and a narrow pass between them.

Forty days later, a twitching
and bustling inside the eggs
broke the spell of her sleep,
and she watched the creatures peck
and head-poke the encasings,
their progress slow,
more excruciating than exquisite.
She imagined all of them into existence:
chicks within a close-quartered mine,
tapping at the veins
where any light is a surprise
to newborn eyes and the slightest glint
might be the first sighting
of gold or an opening.  end  

return to top