My whole life people have asked me if I was born premature the truth is I came into the world only two days too early with wings creased flat against my back and rice paper skin. Born the color of Saturn’s summer sucked right into the gravitational pull nobody would tell me about until after the atrophy; nobody told me that a ring is the only thing that makes a girl big enough to be seen from far away.
Surely there must be some being who cares solely for all the smallest things: hummingbirds, electron clouds, seed pearls, the beginnings of a spindly girl with a body spun out of spider’s silk; the most integral parts of Pointillism.
I. Mother birds throw up what they eat to nourish their young. The reflection I flush down the toilet is distorted but I swallow the haze of spindly legs and crooked wings– tolerate the insects in my esophagus, because we all have someone we want to feed. Fourteen, hollow-boned and listless, I have not yet bled. I mistake this for a sign I am safe.
II. My ribs feel like a small host of sparrows, sharp and trilling, cringing away from the cumbersome sun. Overexposure is never picturesque. I convince myself the cold still doesn’t bother me enough to be the first of my kind to consider migration.
I scrunch my eyes shut in the early hours of the morning, sure that I hear the light rap of god’s knuckles against my hip bones in this hollow house. My bed seems bigger than before.
III. I am an apparition of absolute zero. Tracing the tessellated tile grout, I can’t remember the last time I kept up with the way unclean things converge.
IV. I did not ask him to love me and love me until he was also empty, behind closed doors and an open notebook again. But when he cries in the night and calls out my name instead of shutting my eyes again, bracing myself for the fall before flight-- mouths open waiting to be filled.