May 2015 - Comments Off on Mary Alice Stewart

Mary Alice Stewart

How Birds Are Born

And the hair appears
in the fist, even
though I never
will it. It is simple.
The twining brain tells
the hands, plainly, “The hair
is not useful there. The hair
would be of more use
as parts of a bird’s nest––
something important.
How silly the black
squiggles cowlick over
the skull–– this is not
important.” And like
clockwork, the hair
is in the fist again.
The hair is dead.
I am dead.
The hair a collection
of dead.
I, myself, a collection
of dead.
Somewhere, a bird spills into the sky––
legs branching toward
the distant ground.
What shall I name myself today?
I look again. Still cocooned in the fist
is a tomb of dry, black curls.
The twining brain tells
the hands, plainly, “Birds would be born
in a nest of us. Worms would be
fed of us–– this is important.”
The hands open.
Somewhere, a bird quilts a nest.


Once the ground. Once the ground, I opened. Sillies,
once the ground & it’s hurt of quick light. Once I was a rooted
thing of blood. Just another organ of ground––
	my belly
full of greens that never were quite mine. When green
broke open, half-digested, into blood, the pieces left of me
across black, pitch ground. I turned roadkill

once & there I stayed because the light of hurt never looks back.
the equalizer, feeds a hungry, hungry beast–– a Sillies
beast that opens things to rot on hard, hard ground. Berried
blood evaporating in the beast’s own air. I exoskeleton wish often
	but my soft rooted
in animal body–– a body always searching for green
& green safety. I, an open belly,
am ghost of many (deer-chipmunk-bunny-frog-possum). I, an open belly

am full of blood & lives & once thought the ground held it all.
	A roadkill
dream: Once the ground. Once the green.
Once remembered. Once bodies unopened. Once simple decay
	in ground. A Sillies
dream. I am opened by the hurt of quick light again & again & again.
	My once rooted
pieces of whole turn half then half then half then half then half––
	littering a berried

ground of ghosts who selfishly wish for soft surfaces to sneak into.
	A surface berried
with rot like jewels. A cyclic blood. In every unopened belly
of living, there is a pit of death too. Rooted
in life is so much hurt–– a hurt to open. Perhaps, this is why asphalt
	is closed to roadkill.
Bellies lie fallow on asphalt ground like smalls of water on spider webs.
our country of ground was always shrinking while beasts grew
	to disrupt green.

Sillies of now, sillies of ghosts, we blindly saw the sweet
	of green
& grew to need it like a god. Green is bleeding now & berried
in landscape is the nothing of the hungriest beasts. Who has been the Sillies,
Once the ground, I unopened. Once the ground, the infinite belly
of Earth. Once the ground, once I babies. Babies of mine––
	we all roadkill
ed. No mercy by the hurt of quick light. We once family, rooted

to ground–– green ground. There is too much that paws can not mend.
	Now, we silently rooted
to the dead, dead air. Oh, the vanishing green,
where are you hiding? Sillies, we must find it before
	we all roadkill.
So much of life is hurt when there is no under-
	ground, instead, berried
ground of miscellaneous tails & guts & furs & opened
once, a body. A body that was never quite ours. Sillies,

perhaps it is Sillies to wallow in too much life. Perhaps there
	is supposed to be nothing, Sillies.
Here is my open belly. Here is my babies open belly. Here is decay––
	a warm, warm belly.
The hurt light comes again & again & again & we are smaller than

Published by: in Issue 1: Fall 2014, Poetry, Volume 71

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