by Steve Merino


We pass a dead chickadee on the sidewalk; a body

now more abandoned home, no less wild, all decay

& webbing veins, cracked beak & a thick stain,

scattered remains of the last meal like moons

finally giving up. It seems even birds have stopped

believing in the idea of freedom. Perhaps this bird

hit a window, chasing only reflection, imagining blue

as the final beginning. Or maybe the body didn’t yet

understand fragility. How easily a thing crumples

under pressure; paper tossed into a bonfire. Or lungs

filled with marbles, every breath a rattling of worlds.

In 5th grade we spent weeks studying the songs of birds

& maybe the point was to help us appreciate details,

how to identify loneliness in a language we

would never speak. We pass a dead chickadee & I

think of the lone bird, calling its own name constantly

outside our apartment window to only the sun.



Steve Merino (he/him) is a poet from Saint Paul, MN. His work can be found in Ghost City Review, Mineral Lit Mag, and elsewhere. A full list can be found on his linktree ( Follow him on twitter @steve_merino





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