Eulogy For A Bird by Cheyenne McIntosh

This poem was selected by our guest editor, Joe Russo.

“Later, I will say this was omen: how the black feathers looked scant, like scars on my windshield, how those dirty bones fell limp, so easily discarded — like there was never breath in them to start.”

Eulogy For A Bird by Cheyenne McIntosh

later, I will say
this was omen:
how the black feathers looked scant,
like scars on my windshield,
how those dirty bones fell limp,
so easily discarded — like there
was never breath in them to start.

the pyres in my dining room
are humming, the kind of drone
in a dentist’s office or
telemarketing firm,
where it all looks yellowed and grey.

my kitchen is all yellow and grey,
marking it a statistical setting
for divorce, but we aren’t married yet,
so there is
no danger.

I did not expect this.
can I just say
I did not expect this.

I know nothing of flight patterns
or mating schedules — I am always
five minutes late — and
Sean, my insurance agent,
will tell me to earn my lesson,
will tell me to brake before corners,
will remind me death and taxes
stumble o’er headstones and poets,
will remind me to renew my life term.

but what of flight patterns
or mating schedules,
you were damned species,
left here to stay
and I did not expect this.

I have no home to bring you
I cannot shape the breeze
or stop in time to miss you
I cannot miss you

forgive me the shape of your tomb,
I know of wakes and casseroles,
saran-wrapped microwavable dishes
whispered in corners and drinks —
I have dreamed of swimming in scotch,
cheekbones resting on ice cube edges,
fingerprints pruned and wrinkled
and amber and drunk —
but no one will sit Shiva for you
in a roadside grave or frozen mound.

I have pyres of my own to burn,
the wood beginning to rot
underneath the weight of ash
and I was five minutes late for matches
when I met you.

 *

Cheyenne McIntosh is an undergraduate at Franklin College in Indiana, where she writes about gender-queer studies in science fiction. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in carte blanche, Apogee, Digital Americana Magazine, Indiana’s Best Emerging Poets, and elsewhere. Her poetry primarily focuses on inter-generational trauma, grief, and the shapes we make out of shadows in the dark. She tweets @crm_writes.

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