Birds by Erika Moya


Birds

In went things she would later forget. In went tree games and Lindbergh babies, recipes for the pizza stone, a journal purchased in Mexico. There is this painter with a hotel manner. Hums all over his breath like a hero. This wet tongue on that this thumb. The bag with the letters to the city I’ve never been to the city never once. They’ve painted over her muscles. Painted clean out the sum of things. In the archway you can only reach with a stool. The animated man sang, sang–

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The archer never seeing with his left eye. Rolls his shoulder toward his chest like the father would say to do. The heart should slow, become undetectable. The tips of the fingers go dark with blood, then purple, then there is nothing to care for much. The teakettle offs like a small serenade. Mother cutting lemons for the tea. This is what a winner looks like. Quiet, slippered feet. His hand always on mother’s back. This is what a winner looks like. There is only one way into the bedroom.

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Moths are bad luck. Especially black ones. Three aunts and five children’s hands up in the air. The moth is shooed. Outside is all bugambilia, taxis and wild dogs. Watch for the sudden rain. The water up to the lip of the sidewalk. Children barefoot. This ship is at war with your ship. Our legs cross at the ankles. On the hammock we were surgeons or women in labor. Or back on the ship. Our feet drag in the water. Outside was summer.

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The things that were written on the side of the street. Walking home the woman knows how to get you to look up. Calls you s-s-sweetheart. How you could sleep when she is out there never skimping on the s’s. Worn wool and sore fingers. Eyes rubbed shut. Red string. A sewing machine. What about this and he holds up the old book with the insides cut out. Mix tape. I would like to be a fine lady. Wear a fine dress. A good pair of shoes. My hand held snug inside somebody’s back pocket. In the rain the paper square wasn’t large enough to cover boots. Sweatshirt: gray. Baseball cap: red. You can’t remember which team. Paper hem. We did everything to make you fit.

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This is the book whose title I forget. In the staircase we played a game called heaven. ich gehe– And then he is gone. Left the tv on. Called our thing intransitive. In the car he almost touches her. Sees her rub the rain on the window. How we fell asleep that night. How a voice can torture.

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Birds fly low. I see their hearts beat tiny and strong. Where the girls went, where they played. She buried a doll in a San Diego playground. Two hours spent looking all beneath something. The paper weather and all its brains remind her of the pull of the ocean. Some swim out. How you can only see the tops of their heads while others sit on sand. Your eight-year old eyes felt much easier. The two became three then two again and finally three. Was I always a one? You lay your head in my lap when the drives are long. I read to you my favorite parts.

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Erika Moya‘s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Realpoetik, Forklift Ohio, elimae & Coldfront among other places. She co-curates the Stain of Poetry reading series in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn where she resides.