Two Poems

By: Kristin Emanuel

This is not about birds

not exactly. It is my way of asking you to stay with me until we push through the spell, whales swallowing envelopes of plankton; dreamy jellies. This is not about mechanized birds powered by flame and daydream; this is about roses the color of orange cream soda, animals ricocheting through ocean, land, air, limbs lengthening and pinioned. This is about how we slip awake and ease into our brittle skins, our knit of scribbles and flagellations. Trust me when I say that I wish this were about starlings shrilling like teakettles, metal on metal, making love atop the telephone wire as if it were a flying trapeze. But instead, this is about the mother finch who abandoned her nest in our front-porch fern. Unborn egg. Punctured plum blossom, pearl. Our roiling finitude. This is about how I once watched an anarchist sketch a clumsy sparrow— about how afterwards he spoke of burning buildings. Maybe this is not even about birdwatching, but about how I want to be a birdfeeder. Transparent, jostled and emptied. Hub of hunger, giving; living bodies.

before death

i will see
i’ve ever stepped
on with clumsy
chomping feet
every leaf
wrapper & beetle
crushed grass
gum & sweetgum
seed; the plash
of each puddle;
i will wish
i had walked
instead like
a bird, deliberate
blue heron
threading her legs
through water
doves tiptoeing
over cement;
how animal
it must be to move
with acoustic
delicacy: molecules
& atoms scrolling
beneath the touch-
less flutter

Kristin Emanuel is an MFA student at the University of Kansas, specializing in ecopoetry and vispo. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled Birdwatching in the 4th Dimension. Recently, her poems have appeared in The Normal School, Tilde, and Poached Hare. She also has poems forthcoming in Grub Street 2021.