Shannon Austin

Before and After Her Body
Before and After Her Body

Hum
A bird hooks
itself around a cherry
tree, its heart a hundred
miles of intention,
dips into a bowl of dust,
rounds a swollen trunk,
ruby-throated clings to the last
words ever spoken,
curls up inside
a broken shell,
infantilized,
prehistoric;
body a stalled engine
it sits on the side
of a road searching
for songs to imitate
extinction hymn turns
whimpers to hums,
the comfort of static
dampening quiet.
In one million years,
we will say
the bird was bigger than
it seems.

Shannon Austin is a writer and editor from Baltimore, MD, who is currently completing her MFA in poetry at UNLV. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Profane, Burlesque Press, apt, The Harpoon Review, and Amethyst Arsenic.