You prick your finger on more

than just the needle. Hollow

cones of cartilage—white feathers

in piles at your bare feet. You string

them against each other with black

thread. Not sewing wings for flight,

no wax no Icarus. One cold witch

cauldron-bound lifted fingers

against six meddling brothers

turned birds against night sky

turned swans on lakes with no voice.

Left you on castle doorstep

plucked like early fruit

and given a gold ring. Your six

swan brothers already reached the sun

and that yellow stained their skin.

No one’s getting them back but you

and every shredded feather found

at the lake.


These are magic beans, the sea gull said.
Yellow buds clutched in his dusty claws,
he placed them one-by-one on my wet palm.

A feather rode the sea air and settled in my hand
with the beans. The sea gull did not notice.
He twisted his head and listened to the crabs