by Fernando Pérez
After Jennifer Givhan
When the newly born fall out
[in a field] from buckets.
When newborns learn that buckets are beds,
that bedroom snoring is legal.
You are always living
[off the hook, dial-toned]
when living, you are a bird
stiff as a board,
light as a middle finger.
When placenta is dumped, regurgitated
inside bird nests to feed open mouths.
When a child is straightened into a branch.
The woods outside don’t know
they have become
the whispering of a child’s back.
The cobalt mask of fetal limbs.
Ointments boring their skin.
In a field kale leaves shiver like grasshoppers
when the newly born wipe away each other’s marks.
A child’s soft smoke lifts from short grass.