Susannah Violette, Blackbird, 2018
Graphite and ink on paper

the blackbird
its body the black leather purse
of broom
beak opened in yellow song

I believed in my body

the song swells and retracts
his heart packed tight
like a clamped bud
treasure deep in his dark chest

I count my losses,
losses that have left me dented

I find myself a stranger
a hollow form

I plaster Rowan leaves
on breasts and belly
arm myself with their serrations
six times is enough for anyone

snip snip
little shoots

blackbird fans the ground
to turn the mulch
seeks worms and maggots
those that comb soil
with their bodies

I think of four deaths

he counts many more than four
with his accurate beak

Susannah Violette