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 www.arielkusby.com.