ARS POETICA: BIRD CAGE AFTER CHASE TWICHELL AND IRINA RATUSHINSKAYA BY JANET E. AALFS

Like building a bird cage


out of birds




I tie words together in lines


and expect them to sing.




Like being a child.


Like being a cloud.




Something I can’t imagine


any other way.




Like a hand grenade, a hand-


made poem, woman




to woman, tongue to lips.


Like nothing




I already know, words


on a matchstick




slipped through a crack


in the prison wall ignite




an explosion of ink-


black wings, my silence, the sky.