The Bird

273

The bird circles endlessly in my room, in the half-light—
comes close, carries the harsh carnival of his eye to mine,
causing my neck to fall down in slices of yellow,
my shoulder to reveal the five sleeping armies.

The bird lands upon my chest, pulls my ribs apart
and inspects with repetitious punctures,
clears his way with instinctive swiftness.
Places my heart in the corner for later doings.
Pulls paper from my walls to line the emptiness.
Flies off to cut up my heart to feed to the voices
in our newly-appointed womb.

The bird sews up the wound with strips of bark, holding
the flesh in place with one foot while straining upward
and back, tightening the sutures with quick,
jerky motions of his beak.

I feel the occupants growing dangerous.
I feel them hunting ways of escape.
I know they will be merciless.

After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans (street musician, psych- tech, riverboat something-or-other, door-to-door poetry peddler, etc.), Matt Dennison finished his undergraduate degree at Mississippi State University where he won the National Sigma Tau Delta essay competition (judged by X.J. Kennedy). His work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made short films with Michael Dickes, Swoon, and Marie Craven.