Chickadee Song

Her hands flit about in my mouth,

landing tooth upon tooth,

sharp beaky instruments

scraping and picking tiny morsels –

she chirps to me as she works – how

her boys shot their BB guns

at chickadees;

“If you shoot it, you eat it,” she told them,

which seems like as good a rule as any,

so when one of the boys rounded

the side of the garage,

hands cupping something in secret,

she marched them into the kitchen

and forced them to eat it –

it wasn’t good, she said.

My mouth was full of metal, so I did not ask, but

how do you even cook

a chickadee? Sauteed or boiled or roasted,

does the little breast

even make up one savory bite, do

the bones in the wings snap or bend,

does the song

caught in its throat taste like honey

or taste like


She floods my mouth with water,

mixing with the blood that is there. She

suctions it out with a wand.

“All set?” she asks.

I nod,

the answer lodged in my throat

like a sob,

like a bird.

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