I bite my eyes shut between these songs.
They are the sounds of blackened insect husks
folded over elk teeth in a tin can,
they are gull wings fattening on cold air
flapping in a paper sack on the chlorine-stained floor.
They curl in corners, spiked and black-thatched,
stomp across the living-room ceiling,
pull our hair one strand at a time from electric sockets
and paint our stems with sand in the kitchen sink.
They speak a double helix,
zigzag a tree trunk,
bark the tips of its leaves with cracked amber—
they plant whispers where shouts incinerate into hisses.
Copyright © 2009 Sherwin Bitsui
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.