on learning cuckoo finches spend their lives disguised
as other birds, small deceitful birds nest in my body something average like a sparrow hardly noticed until it is too late and even a beak the size of a staple breaks the skin from the inside out as though I am a hollow rotted tree drawn by a child just that black oval in my belly and a wren peeking out round as a calling bell or house finch with its tendency to succumb to night fright, a bird panic attack settling like unbearable fog, inescapable until the bird beats itself to death, slamming into whatever’s near—cage, trunk, box, window as though with its palm-sized body it calls out—watch me, do you see I know just who you are.
Emily Franklin’s debut poetry collection Tell Me How You Got Here was published by Terrapin Books in 2021. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Guernica, New Ohio Review, Cincinnati Review, Blackbird, Epoch, The Rumpus, and Cimarron Review among other places as well as featured on National Public Radio and named notable by the Association of Jewish Libraries. She won The Pinch Literary Prize for poetry in May 2021. Twitter: @efranklinauthor; Facebook: @emily.franklin.528; Website: emilyfranklin.com.