Bird Woman

Ekphrastic Poetry

Words are feathers
on her tongue.
Fledglings struggling to climb
the walls of her chest
clot in her throat.
As she opens her mouth
it fills with a flock
of birds, vomit
of green-black-wings.
Song has become the plumage
of starlings, her lips
drawn into a dysphonic O.
For they have cut her silver
cords with the cold
steel of a whetted knife,
hung them like lights
among the rowed vermin:
the jay, the stoat and the crow,
to grow stiff
in the far coppice,
a warning,
on the gate gamekeeper’s wire.


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