by Rage Hezekiah
As a girl I searched for harmed birds,
broken creatures to contain
in straw-filled boxes. Determined
to find a tiny, mangled body,
I’d approach slow, arms wide, seeking
something barely breathing.
Hard-wired for exigence, desperate
to protect. Now, smitten with the crisis
of a love who hates her own reflection,
my obsession won’t rest. Let me fix you.
When you say you need me, successive ee’s
spread your brittle teeth wide,
withstanding so much self-abuse—
a diet of mint gum, fizzy water, hard candy,
food that will not feed you. I’m powerless
in your resurrection, you’re not a starling
anticipating hands to hold you,
set you gently in a make-shift nest.
Those I thought I’d saved
were not awaiting rescue, they were only
making their own way home.
Rage Hezekiah is a MacDowell Fellow, who earned her MFA from Emerson College. Her poems have appeared in Fifth Wednesday, Columbia Poetry Review, and Chicago Quarterly Review, as well as other journals, and are forthcoming in the minnesota review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and The Cape Rock. Her writing has been anthologized in Other Toungues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out and All We Can Hold: poems of motherhood.