Sue Thompson CC
Welling up through chest
and throat, four
cardinals in a tree. Repeating thoughts
about nothing. Singing I
am here, I am here, I am singing
this. I am here and I am hungry
and my pain is that which is old
in my mind and old in me, a seizing
threat to chain up the breath, a seizing
mind to size up the jaw. All
is estranged, nothing belongs. To me,
every step is a step away from death
and a step towards another dying. All day.
Every day. Repeating thoughts about nothing
I am here, I am here, I am here thinking
and cardinals are singing, a mind repeating
songs for the sake of repeating because
singing is letting go of a body
and letting go of a body is the last lesson in a series
of lessons about what it is to be flesh
at a time when old pain is still enough
to withdraw into cardinal points as birds might
in the middle of the afternoon, singing about themselves
to whoever listens, we are here, you are here
too, will you share the mind of a bird and sing
along for the sake of singing along, all day, all day?
Stephen Scott Whitaker (@SScottWhitaker) is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the co-editor of The Broadkill Review. A teaching artist with the Virginia Commission for the Arts, an educator, and a grant writer, Whitaker’s work is forthcoming or has appeared in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, Great River Review, Oxford Poetry, The Best of Helios Quarterly & The Southern Poetry Review Series: Virginia. Mulch, a novel of weird fiction is forthcoming from Montag Press in 2021.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.