19

Brandi Bird

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I triage the landscape. The prairies

are numb today and so am I.

I am too thin. Built

like I won't explode on hot

afternoons, a mirror

to the sky. My body is a hurt

where tall grasses grow, where

clouds pass, where rain sinks. It

aches where I touch

the ground. The prairies are split

into farmland locked in the control

of continuity and destruction. A plaque

of canola on my arm itches and

I want to scratch. Someday I will move

to where the land cradles me, swallows

me whole, erodes flesh from my body

in the surf. I can't explain how I feel today

except: the wish for winter. Every season

an emergency, distinct but repeating

like the bones of my ribcage

or prairie highways in blowing snow.

I am the outline of a person

on the shoulder heading west, formed

into black plastic garbage bags. I am still

too heavy for the wind to take me

anywhere fast. I am still too much.

Brandi Bird, "19" from I Am Still Too Much. Copyright © 2019 by Brandi Bird. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Source: I Am Still Too Much (Rahila's Ghost Press, 2019)