birds in the ribs


it turns out
there were a thousand tiny birds
living in my rib cage

some kind of cosmic mix-up
at the factory

somewhere there’s a birdcage
you don’t want to think about

but so anyway
one day my rib cage
cracked open
in (honestly) a not unpleasant way
like opening a jewelry box

and these birds in my rib cage
burst out and away in furious, ecstatic conversation.

No me was harmed in this,
I unfolded in an impossible way
released the flock
and folded back softly
like building a layer cake of flesh.

the birds now reside in a huge bird tenement
a giant bushy tree that hosts
twice daily vociferous debates
dawn and dusk
an explosion of bird talk
about what it’s like to be free


2 Responses to “birds in the ribs”

  1. […] the Seventh issue of Corvus Magazine launching May 1st.  Corvus was kind enough to publish “birds in the ribs” last year in their issue Five. What stellar taste they have! […]

  2. […] made with my good friend and collaborator Steven Yazzie entitled “Birds in the Rib,” based on a poem of mine of the same name. It’s definitely the high point of our ongoing collaboration, and a culmination. […]

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