by Tyler Kline
it comes nocturnal, like all downed wings
with iridescent eyes. the teenager
lifting a brass mail slot & dropping
in fireworks to scare the dog—
the shuddered-knocks of attics being born
at dawn & the woman wishing
for something to tangle her teeth—
a phone cord to bite on when
the line becomes still. silence like
when her older sister told her
the instrument she had been practicing
for months had kept a sheep alive,
that it took all day for the guts to cure
& spin & make music with the hair.
how then her scars were only pencil marks
on the doorframe, her body
just tall enough to push the mower,
to sneak a bottle into their room
after dark & play Would You Rather,
always preferring the mess of
pruning shears to kissing the boy,
she’d rather swallow the bed of roses.
to pluck strings—pizzicato. what she
learned before drawing the bow.
it was a simple game. a child forgetting
to dot her i’s. proof, her sister
once said, of the animal still beating.