the bird inside me flaps tight beneath my skin, scratches
with tiny claws at my insides, tells me that the only reason
I’m not a sack of deflated skin lying empty by the side of the street
is that it’s just too small and tired to break free. I take a deep breath
force the thing inside me still with the pressure of my inflated lungs.
sometimes at night, I can feel the wings of the tiny bird inside me
slipping into place just behind my shoulder blades, feel pinfeathers
stretch all the way down the front of my arms, and I whisper
no, you can’t have me yet. I hold the wings and claws and feet and pointed beaks
tight and still and quiet inside me, murmur promises of a day
when I’m so old and tired myself
that there’ll be nothing left to hold it all in.
Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, while her newest poetry book, Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.