Black Bird – Ariel Kusby

 I cannot stand your velvet cloak that holds
 the dark in. Unprepared, I stayed
 with you until the wind spoke of mothers and I remembered
 my own smell. Every day I checked the solidness
 of skin, the speed of blood, the shape of eyes
 against the rain. I know you watched
 my living rituals, the imitation light I held up to my face
 to push you out. Anything to keep
 from growing feathers and spreading out into the winter.
 We are not unalike, black bird. You know I cannot bear to hear
 a heartbeat. I will not call you by your name.
 Spring is rising, summoning you and your daughters.
 Black bird, I’ve given you everything I can. Let me play
 my breathing games. I am wanted
 by yellowing strands of light. Don’t worry, black bird:
 I’ll save my heat until your return. 

Ariel Kusby is a writer and bookseller based in Portland, OR. Her poems, stories, and reviews have appeared in Entropy, The Adroit Journal, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Bone Bouquet, SUSAN / The Journal, Bodega Magazine, Hunger Mountain, and Pom Pom Lit Mag, amongst others, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the author of the children’s book The Little Witch’s Book of Spells (Chronicle, 2020), and the founder of Little Witchery, a magical community for children and adults. Visit her website at

Leave a Reply