There was a balled-up napkin in my hip. It was a nest, where a bird came limping to sing the three songs he knew how to tie in little knots of lightning and die. I called him Fred: a handful of fire to warm my bones to.
And when the bone caved, when metal marched into my hip to replace it, Fred sang himself out of himself like a phantom through the tungsten, and the metal remembered its old life,
before the shelf, before the mine, back in the Earth’s crust, ore tongued by lava, hungry for the arrow, the spear-tip, the microscope, the microchip, the bullet aimed at the president—
fuck me, Fred sang like he was giving birth to himself, my hip flamed like Earth come to claim all hurts as parts of herself, and I sat all night and sweated light-headed through the bed in what thus far has been one of life’s three or four greatest highs.
Ricky Ray is a disabled poet, critic, editor and essayist. He is the author of the full-length collection, Fealty (Diode Editions, 2019), and two chapbooks, Quiet, Grit, Glory (Broken Sleep Books, 2020) and The Sound of the Earth Singing to Herself (Fly on the Wall Press, 2020).