HIDING IN THE BIRDS
BY AUSTIN KODRA
I must first call hunger bird tracks in the snow.
(Even better—snowfinch prints in a drift.)
Next, I must massage the back of my jaw where I’ve pulled out twelve teeth to carve a sleek
hollow, but I’ll show you instead claws digging twelve seeds from the earth.
(Bird baths of my cheeks.)
I must not say how it feels to stand in front of a mirror.
I must paint the birds in their numbered stanzas.
(All-time metaphor—each peck the fragile breath of resiliency.
Puff-chested, braving a frigid wind.)
I must claim the moon cooed to me about sorrow.
I must stuff the birds with breadcrumbs and cotton and sorrow and my father must grow
black wings and fly back to the stars.
I must not talk about fashion magazines or my empty bowl of hip bones.
I must not tell the story of the junco ramming again and again the broken feeder.
I must ask that you listen instead about how snowfinches lug muskets wherever they march
their winged battalion.
(Warriors of my heart’s wounded flutter. Something like that—
how they wear glorious coats of armor against the flash of sunlight on snow.)