5/20

ornithophobia or fear of being carried away by birds 

i am walking on a length of floss.
yesterday, i took my shoes off
& stored them in my head.
believed my crazy was becoming
a new person. the outlines of strangers
always have wings & in my conversations 
with the hat man he says i have nothing
to worry about except for birds.
birds do not run in my family 
but once i saw my youngest brother
standing on a ledge & trying to fly.
when some people leap they become doves
& others become asterisks on the ground.
i am alarmed by my body 
& what it asks for. necklace of teeth.
grubs with their windowed organs.
i am less afraid of where they'll take me
as i am of the leaving. i imagine 
the world beneath my like a beach ball.
swallowing helium, i could just
become my own balloon. one of my friends says
birds were designed by the government 
to watch us. my fear is not contingent 
on whether or not a bird is natural.
if i'm honest though there is
a sliver of desire. i want to see
my life in minitature. i want to sell
all my clothes & wear a lovely uniform
given to me by the bird president.
who can i go to for permission
not to think at all today?
i am least worried about ducks
because i have seen their wood hearts.
watched as my mother carved them 
by the side of a mucky river.
song birds on the other hand.
they have a library of voices.
once a blue jay opened his mouth
to tell me i didn't love him
in the voice of my abuser. i covered my ears
& hurried briskly into a bathroom.
bathrooms are of course
the only place i am safe.
that's where the hat man 
keeps his wisdom. where the mirror
is also a watering hole.
elephants come. i dip my face.
drink as deep as i can. make promises
to myself that i will not & cannot keep.
"you will nail your feet to the dirt"
"you will not cover your head
as you run into the ivy" " you will
stop collecting feathers as evidence." 

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