The Bird

By Mona Arshi

She’s a prize forager.
An assortment of beetle wings are arranged
like shiny badges under her bed.

Her meal worms have been freeze-dried with such care
that they twitch in the bowl
when resurrected with just a speck of water.

She smells of … preening oil, salt, top notes of earth.
My mother is turning bird.
This tiny, impossible thing

perched in my hand,
molecules exciting her eyes.
Then the soft click-click that unlocks

her humanity, she separates from the tips of my fingers,
hops to the gap in the window,
leaving complex glitter in my palm.


"The Bird," from Small Hands (Pavilion Poetry, 2015). Reproduced with permission of the publisher.