Rachel Heimowitz

Bird Woman

The Resonance


Bird Woman

I remember what it was like to fly, dragged into the sky and left
to circle my way back to earth alone,

as if the day could be unlocked, like clouds separating
to reveal houses and mountains, push the weather

back against the land’s hard forehead. Or just fit myself
between two rusty chains onto a smile of rubber, my sneakers

pumped against clouds that rise out of a whispering sea.
If I could just drop these clothes in salt where seaweed gleams

and driftwood crouches, coughed from the waves, osseous,
and etched in the sand: Daniela loves Emily

and Amelia Seagull. How I envy those gulls who fly
off alone, left to dip and glide in thermals, their cries

plaintive, their singular wings spread to accept this world whole,
sucked from above and pressed from below, coaxed by wind

like a nipple rubbed along an infant’s chin, inviting, inviting.
If only someone had said, I love the way your breasts have suffered

and sagged because they fed our many children,
and I have kissed them so many thousands of times

until they wilted from good use. If I only had wings
to lift myself up, then I might open into a pocket of air,

into the unbroken rhythm of time and space, my face
reflected in clouds or just my name etched in sand,

rust colored smudges on my palms, then
I could remember I was once here, near

the strange, empty bones spit from the bottom of the sea.


The Resonance

to Saddiq

Gathered heat in my left hand, happiness
in my right. Clap the time of it. Bodies

flagged and vibrating in the wind.
If only I could see time

as timeless,         like God
or the birds—here

I only ever meet my sons
at funerals,

where we all stand silent
and marked, the children

I once knew,
now men in uniform,

the men, now bearded
                                             and gray—

The known is so small, almost
inexpressible, bubbles

inside a glass,      a bit
of cheese on a cracker, you

calling me from inside the rain,
your voice chocolated

between raindrops, car wipers
a backbeat of your hands clapping—

the hands that hold
my feet chaliced to the page,

lead the shape of the dance,
and the raindrops that water

us into a borderless
dream, my forehead resting

against yours, connected
as blood, opening your hand

in mine where I can smell
the flower of you, there,

in your palm, your fingers antenna’d,
tuning forked, set

against my ear, your lips
on my forehead. I feel it still,

this hard process of hum,
of coming into the body,

              to see the yes
of it, the resonance of it.

RACHEL HEIMOWITZ is the author of the chapbook, What the Light Reveals (Tebot Bach Press, 2014.) Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Spillway, Prairie Schooner, and Georgia Review. She was recently a finalist for the COR Richard Peterson Prize, winner of the Passenger Prize and she has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. Rachel received her MFA from Pacific University in Spring 2015. http://www.rachelheimowitz.com.