First the Blue, Then the Bird
The fan of feathers, the lift.
The mind stumbles behind.
At the coast, a neighbor
shuffles her paisley skirt
and feeds crows from her
driveway. They coat the road
in shine and flurry. I think
it’s a second sea, until
their eyes pool toward and trap
me on unwadeable ground. Their
hunger sees what tools could
be shaped from my bones.
First the dark. My family’s
zebra finches were more spot
than stripe. One left its cage
and found the dog’s mouth,
like wet earth, pulsing and
fragrant. In an unfinished room,
plastic-draped, I watched a callus-
handed man pull open the dog’s jaw.
The orange beak looked out first,
then a flutter. Flight. An empty
mouth. The fourth day I pass
the jay’s body in the gutter,
it is deflated like an endless exhale,
like release. Under the backyard
tree I find an eggless nest, vacant
lattice of moss and twigs. First
the hole, then what’s missing.
Carrie Vaughn is a poet and middle school science teacher. She received her MFA in poetry from Oregon State University. She lives in Baltimore, MD with her partner and their musclebeast mutt.