[Remarkable the litter of birds]

Remarkable the litter of birds cleared from the city every morning
The ones who flew toward the sky in the reflection of the glass
Dead or stunned I often think given the chance I wouldn’t live my life over
I have just this one heart okay I was burned I was gaslit nearly to ash on the first try
From the start I was told I was a powerful speaker I was told when & how I should speak
It’s true I made a feast of my own misery I invited everyone the whole gang
We ate only flowers it was my misery after all I was 29
I’d had a narrow escape from becoming Julian of Norwich
Finally I felt safe enough to ask Katie Is it antifeminist to starve myself over a boy?
Her response was kind What if we revise the focus of that question
Soon we were eating peonies & lilacs with bees inside
All these marriages had come out to watch me deliver my speech
I filled my mouth with bees I tried to speak through the bees
Everyone if we’re going to talk about love please we have to talk about violence
I was stung my tongue swelled I was spitting crushed bees
A special crew came to sweep them up before anyone could see

From Brute by Emily Skaja. Copyright © 2019 by Emily Skaja. Used by permission of Graywolf Press.