In a small town
I can’t tell by the mirror if the feather bomb has not dislodged from my throat yet. Whether grayish blue petals haunt my skin like down. Unscarved, I pluck my neck with worry of what is visible right there in the grocery store, the slight and perpetual defeathering.
I catch myself feeling more looked at than before. What of image may not after all be divisible: A playing card valued for its purpose on the river, permutation overlooked for outcome.
There has been no great weather here, spring drizzle. But weather gets me nowhere. Church gets me nowhere. Politics a near-fight in the ladies. The word spectacle
passed down to me in Grandma’s tales. What if… I told the story of the great chicken de-feathering of 1931. The harsh winds took her barn and birds for all their worth then spit them out, scattered bare and white by wind.
Like stars or playing cards the birds for a while playing dead in their nakedness.
And the town ran around, spit that story right out. I remember wearing a plastic tiara and feather boa even to the market, wanting to be seen. As a girl, you have to speak, not thinking all the best words already pecked over.
Caroline Klocksiem's poems have most recently appeared in, or will soon appear in Starting Today: Poems for the first 100 Days in Office; Drunken Boat; Shampoo; H_ngm_n; and Blood Orange Review. She's a graduate of Arizona State University's Creative Writing MFA program and co-poetry editor for the online journal 42opus.