mama, turn out the light –

The eggs are laid in the galleries

We wander, plucking faces from white walls

The yolk demands its attachment

The yolk broadcasts the feed


A nest of small beaks, a nest of plumes

In circles, circles

Wingless, a shiny cadence

Tufted f-stop heart 

Lets light in, brave


The fight is feathery distance but we claw its shimmer of idea

A hologram that pops up strata with puffed chins and chest

The shooting gallery where we fire and fire

A high squealing wah wah wah


first and last lines quoted from 80’s era editions of Field Guide to Insects (Embioptera order) and Field Guide to Birds (White-Fronted Goose) respectively…


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Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including the forthcoming trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa now lives in Mendocino County where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at

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