On Lambay Island, predators do not exist
but deer and rabbit breed with abandon.
As a summer farmer, I set out with my gun
to right what the absence of god did wrong.
The birds, on the other hand, were sacred,
protected by law and so flourished on the cliffs.
The wind, generously violent, rendered
their wings pointless; and in the sky, the birds float.
Dead and diseased rabbits everywhere.
On the path, the cattle avoid the little clumps of fur.
I want to say Fire. It seems appropriate.
Under the wind turbine, I learned how to sing.
Every night, the stars massacred the sky
and the prey plotted against me.
I, masking sorrow, became a clown.
When I spread the grass seed, the wind
would gather the splinters and throw them
into the sea like dumping a bag of cash.
I was told to spread more. I did. When had I become
so fabulously wealthy? There was one recipe for bread,
it yielded dense and tasteless grief, smothered
in strawberry jam. Want to hear a joke?
The grass, the birds, the dead rabbits, the bread.
In a notebook, Why? and of course, every answer was a mirror.
My hair tucked with bobby-pins. I was every year.
Feigning romance, I castrated a bull while standing in its shit.
This is the song I wrote: BIRDS. It sounded
like Heaven or Hell which I interpreted as the cliff.
There is no light at the end of the tunnel just wind.
Catie Hannigan is a queer poet and visual artist from Maine. She is the author of What Once Was There Is The Most Beautiful Thing (DIAGRAM 2015) and Water Fragments (Tammy Journal 2017). She has received fellowships from Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and Stonecoast Writers Conference. She is the director of Meadow, a creative space for marginalized artists & writers, and she currently lives in Oregon.