Mistaken for Birds, This Love of the Body

by Jennifer Givhan

Bruise-yellow cottonwoods dangle
wineglass; even
bare branches dance

volcanic rock piles
toward each other,
& burnt wood
marvels it ended thus, spindled
in a blunt cul-de-sac world,
tarantula legged and ragged.

Charcoal arcs
slit the unenchanted land,
the floaters in my
eyes, mistaken for birds.

I ask my husband the nurse if they communicate—

his patients in wheelchairs
or strapped in standing

He says for one middle-aged woman
with hands of folded
rice paper,
hands like seashells, thatched rooftop
shelters for mice, question marks,

her eyes her only language
strobe light toward the stage
as she’s wheeled each year to watch her
Chippendale dancers.

A crow flies to my window,
stretches wings against wind,
and I mistake it
for a dark splotch on my retina.

Jennifer Givhan's picture

Jennifer Givhan is a Mexican-American poet. Her work has appeared in over seventy literary journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets 2013, Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Rattle, The Collagist, cream city review, and The Columbia Review. She has also won a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.

Last updated December 24, 2014