Emily Kingery

Twyckenham Notes
Issue Fourteen
Winter 2021-22


I could not have been right with you
drunk on your rightness, pointing
from the driver’s seat at trees. 

They’re full of birds, you said, seems
like hundreds. You always thought so:
always on your tongue a thick door

closing. Your family was mixing
cocktails, fresh for our arrival. I
thought of lime, the sting of it

in cuticles, and how I loved them
in my way: their red, thin-fleshed
bobs the likeness of cardinals, bright

birds whose inner light is snuffed.
How in winter, everything prepares 
to disappear: clusters of not-birds

in the sumac. I thought of you
and of children in red jackets and
velvet hair ribbons growing inside

your family home, learning to sing
excelsis to fill the halls with sound.
Nothing there but angels winging,

in bed before dark. Before invisible,
nocturnal things come and disappear 
the seeds on their fur. Before the drop

of them for hares and whitetail deer  
to mash to goodness in their teeth.
I listened to you love birds you knew 

were no birds at all, watched you turn 
your eyes to the road. I thought ahead
to the cleanness of bone in spring.

EMILY KINGERY teaches English at a small university in Iowa. Her work appears widely in journals, including Birdcoat Quarterly, GASHER, Midwest Review, Plainsongs, Quarter After Eight, Sidereal, and Trampoline, among others, and she has been the recipient of several honors in poetry and prose. Most recently, she was selected as the second-place winner in the Midway Journal flash prose and poetry contest, judged by Tiana Clark. She serves on the Board of Directors at the Midwest Writing Center, a non-profit organization that supports writers in the Quad Cities community (mwcqc.org).

Cover image by Dréa Collage
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