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RIB-CAGED BIRD – Laura Coe Moore

on July 16 | in Poetry | by | with No Comments

I failed to remember
the swoop and swallow
of wings now sweeping
the bottom of the cage,
fluttering against the boney bars,
with no explanation offered.
 
How long does the mouth
have to be open
to eat a degree in ornithology?
How long do the eyes
shut out the world as
new ones open inside?
 
Some might say it’s
my romance with flight,
training my muscle to spasm,
a wisdom gained by pecking
at things, just long enough
before leaving.
 
Has it always been a part of me,
quietly sleeping in the dark,
until the skin was removed
that covered it?
 
Most of the time it seems at rest
until of course it isn’t. When
trapped it panics, beating
my lungs with feathers
that take it nowhere.
 
If I press my fingers hard
on the spot where all the
trouble begins, does it know
I’m trying to let it out, or
taking the pulse of a ghost?
 
I wonder if it’s always been there,
an egg in a warm interstitial
space between bone and muscle,
heart and lung, waiting to be born?
 
Thinking it might have been
there at birth offers a seed
of comfort. Thinking that it was not I
who inhaled it from the air,
or gulped it down like a ravenous beast.
 
What would happen if flesh and bones
conspired to escape? Surely
the screaming alone would say,
I am not your nest.
 
 
Laura Coe Moore lives on Whidbey Island in Washington and is inspired by the isolated rural nature of life. Her poetry and visual art make connections between the individual human interior and the wild external world. Her work has recently appeared in Blast Furnace and she currently has work in The Coe Review.

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