I am a gravel road of a girl,
a glass jar filled with sharp-edged sea shells;
a spiky tail of a girl, swishing,
not the sort of girl you could take to dinner and impress anybody.
I have tried, at times, to be as smooth as a table top,
smooth as the slice-side of a wheel of cheese,
but the flock fills the arms of my sweater,
the body boils with them--
I am not going be able to stand still for long like that.
Did you hear me singing?
Did you say, please, please honey, shut up?--
that was the flock, filling my throat, stealing my breath,
rushing out of me with ribbons of red in their beaks.
Did you wonder why my kiss was so hungry,
my hands so restless?
I was afraid you would feel the flock and leave.
I was afraid I would have to give back your kisses before I even tasted them.
As for my hands, I was holding on.
The flock wants to take me like an updraft,
they want me to see what they see
until my illusions freeze one by one and the sky storms me back out.
I am a devil dancer of a girl,
a heart beating in a talon cage;
I am a blemished stone of a girl, swung on a leather string,
not the sort of girl you could leave at home and expect good things to happen.
I am a million wings with a soul inside.
I am gone like a broke-backed rat.
From the nest I came and to the nest I return,
and if I am torn apart and devoured, then at least I will be home--
in death I will be done,
and still at last.