A man goes by my bench on a bike. He veers towards
a pigeon and hits it. The guts cover me — refuse,
rat feces. I flail through the park dripping intestine.
My young, hot body inspires horror, disgust!
That did not happen. At the last second the bird
remembered to fly. Suddenly, it is too vague to live.
I’ve picked up the bad habit of mentioning the weather.
A breeze goes quietly by. Children play
in inches of water. If given the ocean, I’d only
know to swim laps by the shore. There is a duck boat,
brightly pink. There are sparrows. I heard something
about Shakespeare once — people loved him so much they
brought those birds to America? — was that it? I only
remember waking without you again. Not at home. Not here.
C. Francis Fisher is a writer and translator based in Brooklyn. She received her MFA from Columbia University where she now teaches writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the the Raleigh Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and the Los Angeles Review of Books among others. Her poem, “Self-Portrait at 25” was selected as the winner for the 2021 Academy of American Poets Prize for Columbia University. A book of her translations, “In the Glittering Maw: Selected Poems of Joyce Mansour,” is forthcoming with World Poetry Books in 2024.