from Scary, No Scary by Zachary Schomburg
The old man who watches me sleep
growing from his chest.
This is a mistake.
This is why
he’s so hunched over.
Sometimes, his crying will wake me
and I’ll open my eyes a little
to find him trying to push
those wings through
to the other side.
If you have a soul
it may have been put in there backward.
from Scary, No Scary translated into Creation Myth by Mathias Svalina
In the beginning birds grew wings out of their chests. This caused them to fly upside- down so that their heads dangled painfully. All the birds had a secret meeting out beyond the woodshed & wrote a communiqué to the bird-makers. Each bird signed it in his or her own bird blood.
This is what the communiqué said:
Wings were meant for flying with heads turned upwards. We do not want the babies to see us this way. We do not want the babies to cry. They used to have their eggs. Now they only have us. This is the uprising of the birds. And we need you to put our wings onto backs.
The bird-makers received the communiqué with the mail, but they were not in the habit of checking the mail, figuring that anything important came over their Blackberries. The communiqué was piled in with junk ads for credit cards & magazines full of coupons for fried chicken places & carpet cleaning places.
The communiqué fell in love with an ad for a carpet cleaning place. They moved into a nice, though somewhat characterless duplex near the cornfields. The communiqué was interested in local politics. The ad for the carpet cleaning place was interested in chemicals & cleanliness & the mysteries of fibers. Somehow it worked. They got married. Great wedding. Open bar. I haven’t heard from them since last year’s Christmas card.
The bird-makers went bankrupt & have spent the last two millennia suing each other for their names.
The birds still have their wings growing out of their chests. They also have their heads & a mason jar full of unsharpened No. 2 pencils growing out of their chests. Most of the birds have forgotten the uprising. Those who remember grow their memories below their tongues.