the bird inside me flaps tight beneath my skin, scratches
with tiny claws at my insides, tells me that the only reason
I'm not a sack of deflated skin lying by the side of the street
is that it's just too small and tired to break free. I take a deep
force the thing inside me still with the pressure of my lungs.
sometimes at night, I can feel the wings of the tiny bird inside me
slipping into place just behind my shoulder blades, feel
stretch all the way down the front of my arms, and I whisper
no, you can't have me yet. I hold the wings and claws and pointed
tight and still and quiet inside me, murmur promises of a day
when I'm so old and tired myself
that there'll be nothing left to hold it all in.