after dickinson i've been tracing the outlines of my ribs, poking into the gaps, the soft cracks where i might find entrance to reach in and grab the thing with feathers. i've been telling myself it's there, fluttering the way they say it should. i've been telling myself i can hear its tune in the hinges of the swinging door that hangs open as the chill of the land and the strangeness of the sea press against my cheeks. but this tinny squeak burrowing into the orifices with claws like broken violin strings snapping against a snare sending needles into the fingernails— this must be the sensation of an empty perch. i've been tracing the outlines of my ribs, poking into the gaps, the soft cracks to reach in and grasp around. if i can hold it, feel it squirm in my hand, peck at my skin and sing against my pulse, then maybe i can believe in hope.
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