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Lydia R. Cooper


A Bird Fell Out of Its Nest

And we chased the bird,
torn newspaper
flapped across rotted
pine roots. We caught it,
pinned it to crusty dirt
with a sharp stick. Look—is it—?
Each quill like plastic
fork prongs, soft gray
skin stretched over
squirming guts,
the rhythm bulging out
and in.
Then the stick pierced skin,
yellow oozing
onto broken pine leaves.
Is it—
                     We turned
the bird over, changed
into something
(we knew suddenly, became all wise)


The Flame

We lick ice in summer,
our heels making soft dents
in street tar

like dimpled water thick
with rot, froth-laced. Melting
ice dapples

knees soft with bruises
and pre-pubescent downy hair,
fresh scrapes

and scars still smelling
of raw soil and dandelion
milk curds.

Our lips turn numb,
our words slur into vowel slicks
and stumbles. Giggling,

we act out tragedy.
Some day our old shades
will hiccup through

aneurisms, slur
and melt like waxworks, then harden,
grow cold.

Ice melts on hot
young skin. We burn
like flame

dwindling a matchstick
down to its




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