Class: Order: Family
The scarlet ibis. The spoonbill. The laughing kookaburra. The tiny penguin. The Arctic turn. The wings, the bill, the feathers. The hooklets and barbules, the round iris like ours. My daughter was born a bird. We kept her in an oval egg, like porcelain, and when it was time I held it in my hands, electric heat from my bare fingers to warm it. She remembers her bird ways and is dismayed to find herself a little girl. Laying back in the stroller she looks up at the sky overhead like she knows she should be there. When it is time for play dough she commands us "make an egg." I dutifully shape one after another, until she holds her hands together, a nest full of potential.
Portrait of a Humpback
The air is so oppressive that I long to find myself past the breakers, past the little boats bobbing like so much clutter in the foreground of my sight. I turn
to look at human-you, but there is only emptiness. I imagine you are a whale.
You are beside me but not beside me. You have such freedom; beyond the
shore and the many sandbars making choppy uneven sets of waves. It is as I
conceived. I have pushed you into the body of a great water-bound mammal.
A plume of water shoots into the air and I know: that whale is the you-whale.
Have you forgotten your human life out there? From here, I cannot see the
striated skin along your enormous belly. I cannot see your eye, like a crop
circle cut into your side. I have lost you. Am I happy now?
is a Queens-based poet and editor. Her newest chapbook, Beach Vocabulary
, is forthcoming from Red Bird Chaps
. She is author of Space on Earth
(Grey Book Press
), Ophelia: A Botanist's Guide
(Zoo Cake Press
), What We Love & Will Not Give Up
(Dancing Girl Press
) and Starting a Life
(Finishing Line Press
). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, most recently Newtown Literary, The Maine Review
and Salt Hill
. She is Associate Editor of Analog Science Fiction & Fact
and Asimov's Science Fiction
, and other than her website can be found on Twitter at @E_Hockaday