— Stefanie Kirby

I ask my daughters to snare the owl with me for its apocalyptic body: all gypsum and pewter feathers. This wouldn’t be necessary if I’d given them different bodies, bodies that don’t bleed unprovoked. A hydrant, rusted red at the edge of field where the bird flew, useless against fire. Useless, the way a mother carries daughters in her body. Everything smells like flight to us: the break of field, the frozen layer of canal. Someone pinned numbers to trees. 6, 3, 9, which take the form of months or waiting. We build a copper cage, clip the owl’s wings. Line the habitat with mirrors that reflect only sun. In them, the owl proves to be a magpie, drawn by the shout of gold against glass. A bird contains multitudes: luck, wisdom, death. All the bodies I’ve desired and forgotten, of which I’ve fallen short. Shame grows best in a womb lined with feathers.

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