Ways to Draw Blood From Feathers

-Angela Peita


The coming of the rain brought the earthworms to meet the surface. Blinded and exposed they remind me of swimming naked in the ocean. Tattered crows flock to find their breakfast, today will not be the day they starve. Is rain the continuation of life, or the beginning of death?


Wherever you have gone, you have always been flanked by birds of prey. Like any enmeshed attachment, I am never sure if it is you that seeks them- or they you. When we come across a caged eagle amongst the other birds in the aviary, you begin to cry. With the slipstream of feathers that follows you, you are broken by this single one. This bird will never find you. You will only see it again if you return to its cage.


I come across some birds I recognize and it sparks something in me. Peering through crowded cages I conjure bolt cutter images, ponder what the penalty is for bird smuggling. I wonder if they were caught without their paperwork, snagged in bureaucratic netting on their flight to freedom.


The storms here are louder and brighter than in our city. I measure space with my hands to see if this place is closer to sky. Overhead birds circle though thunderclaps fearlessly. It’s beautiful, and you raise your hands and wait for the lightning.


The time I decided to get wings tattooed across my back

so you could never keep me prisoner again.