Poetry from Skye Preston

The Real Bird Who Was

I am not a real bird, says the bird that is,
His coiled intestines heavy in his soft belly.
He gathers bark flakes and wooly hair for his nest,
Gathering with wings that should fly.
If I were a real bird, says the bird,
I would do what they do. The bird
watches a trigon of his feather-kin in the sky,
And presses his pinioned wingtips into the wet ground.

The bird plops heavy onto the earth,
Swallowing a worm as he saturates in nutrient packed dirt.
The worm sticks, glued to his tonsils,
And he develops a smell as he rolls over, crushing his wings beneath him.

He gazes with an ache at the seasonally disappearing flocks,
Claws at himself from the inside.
Real birds fly, says the bird who doesn’t,
As he pushes his head in the water and remains just a second too long.

On a branch, he lifts a wing, raises a leg.
He tilts slowly off and the world seems to spin,
But it spins until it doesn't, until the bird recoils,
Nosediving into his breast and imagining what the others would say
If they saw him.

I’m not a real bird, thinks the bird,
I can't be seen if it is like this.
He feels a phantom pain at the gone tip of his wing,
And quietly sheds both tear and feather.