There’s No Other Way To Say This
At school I discovered the heart
of a white rhino, showed
my teacher with words
which were never
any use to me. I tried
to tell my mother, but
she was deaf as women
are when baking
salt cookies slipped
into a sandwich bag.
It was a fear of waking in hide.
At eight she lost
her father when the pilot
lost his radio and the sky lost
his plane. I thought
to give her my childhood: that stick
in a stick-pile, that spot
on the moon.
Birdie makes mistakes,
all sorts of mistakes, so many
everything notices—the trees,
grass, angle of the dumpster—she never
comes out right. So maybe she flies right
into an oven or the sky. Some girls
have just enough to fly across an ocean
then die with a frantic heart—but still
they knew there was land to land on.
Birdie heard there was a rabbit in the moon,
that once you see it you can’t un-see. Birdie sees
bad from above, recalls something cold,
but the year is so long
maybe winter was a thought she had
last time she was scared or pitied, and pity
is a kindness, a kind of lilac
orbiting a bruise. Bird can fold in memory
the zigzag of an egg in two pieces.
She can fill half with anything.
Lizzie Harris's first collection is Stop Wanting (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2014). Her poems have appeared in Carolina Quarterly, Sixth Finch, Barrow Street, All Hollow, VICE.com, Phantom Limb and elsewhere. She's a poetry editor for Bodega Magazine: bodegamag.com