"SONG OF A CINNAMON BIRD" by Kris Hiles



I am not made for the earth. Everybody wants

something rare: a meteorite, a ghost orchid,

cinnamon, a bird’s nest. A mistake,

a legend of Herodotus. Out of reach

on the sheer cliff of this apartment complex.

There are so few trees in the city, so many slings

and lead arrows. Nobody remembers

a grain of salt is poison. Nobody remembers

how I emerged from an egg,

naked and wingless, covered in bark. How I peeled

myself from myself by the skin of my teeth. Each bite

burned, until I taught myself to swallow

each ember, a charred mint,

bitter and sharp and, oh,

how they soothed my butterflies. Nobody sees

beneath the skin, how hard it was

to grow wings. The nerves built from gallium,

always molten, contaminating everything

that touches me. Contaminating everything

I touch. How the oil-slick blood struggled

to push raw skin where it wanted to go,

to see where it is wanted. Feathers came

from ash, light as smoke, shrouding me

in gray crystal and mystery. Here in the sky, my nest

is a product of molting. It is lived history –

the cinnamon and story are mine, home,

where the sun catches the glass, it is warm,

and I can rest.




Kris Hiles is an autistic lesbian creative. She lives in a space filled with love, plants, and vinyl records. She enjoys polishing stones and the smell of archives. You can find her on Twitter @KrisHiles.

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