The Three Birds of the Milky Way

On the cusp of winter, under the pollution
of a hunter’s moon, I see, for once, no bird,
but a cross; no wing but a brace to bear
what must be borne. Here: the queen on her throne,
the Summer Triangle, the wingtips
of the great swan charted in the sky.
The guide says there are three great birds of the Milky
Way, the Pathway of the Birds. I make note,
try to imagine what I might fashion
in the cold night, in this place I didn’t ask to inhabit.
How did I end up here? What wind blew me
off course, took me from heart and home? My
body falters, loses feather and beak
and bone, turns to dust or ice or stone.


Originally published in Sinister Wisdom, 2017. Copyright © 2017 by Donika Kelly. Used with the permission of the poet.