I try not to bring it up but you’re asking anyway
if this is some kind of fad
and a knotted clutch of chicken legs
sprout up inside me, scrunched stars on stalks
that flail, pale yellow and scared
then run like hell, wheeling round
and round my skinless heart
as I grasp helplessly for facts, deflections
something irrefutable about climate change.
The truth? I was in his flat. He’d been drinking,
didn’t really have a recipe
when he put me on the counter
and pulled out all my pliant feathers
one crass handful at a time.
I spat out my own stomach. Didn’t move
as he slimed me, smeared me, made me
into a thing without a face. I don’t know
the exact temperature or how long it took.
The next day I ate an apple and went to work
but just last year
a man on the London Underground
tried to eat me. I stood very still
as he latched on then quietly gnawed
my left arm. My face was hot
and I knew that if I didn’t get off at the next stop
I would be gone completely, nothing left
but dog chews, tattered scraps
still carefully gripping the rail.
I’m explaining it badly. I’m not explaining it at all
but there is a canal inside me, a thick wet commute
where sawn-off beaks collect and bob in blood.
They have such small tongues
and I have no words
for all the eaten things, for all the things
that never get a say, that cannot speak.