A girl murmurs a blaze

of words. She speaks to trees,

backlit congregation, to herons

bent like priests at a river,


alert, alien, catastrophic.

Her new language is soldiers

in willows, gear nested

like mixing bowls. Hares


watch the clatter with sour eyes.

Squirrels, ravens, crows.

The whole dark bestiary,

murderous. Hooks, teeth,


silk of hair stirred by wind.

She is almost a woman.

She takes money, hands

men bottles. Bits of plastic


drop from their fingers,

spinning like tinsel. She

watches the twirling and

dreams of flying. Bright


tankards, bottles of water.

Soldiers shift to nothing

under her wings of dark hair,

her silent, lifting wings.

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