[from Daniel Nathan Terry's Waxwings, Lethe, 2012]
house — bedroom window paned
like a roadside cross
erected for a reckless boy, wreath
of camera-flare, paper flower of real grief
with too bright a center, edges finally fading
in shoebox weather.
what happened there.
this is more than a snap-
shot. Flat as it seems, it will swell
on your red tongue and will become
those rooms — that room with its pale boy
sinking to his knees, again, sinking
into shadowed corners.
fold into black origami.
your jaw like the copperhead you saw
becoming a blackbird in the woods — mouth-first,
then your throat, your white ribs and pink gut.
All that's left of you
must muscle through
the flapping wing, thin legs trembling,
one skeletal foot curling inward.
It's in you now —
the song, the sin, the bones, the room, him
telling you it's alright, and every man does it
when a girl leaves him empty-
house, blackbird-who-became a snake. Swallow
this house and keep yourself
how to sing.