Jump Out Yourself

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 after Brianna McCarthy

 

Sometimes, life decides to dangle you over the edge of something:

maybe a roof or a razor blade.            Also truth: in every body, there is

 

a songbird, locked inside a cage of bone – and if the tarp is dark enough,

it will drop pitch into the silence of that shade,         and it may

 

never rise again at the flirts of the sun.           We don’t speak of this

much: don’t speak of weakness; flesh scars where we patch ourselves

 

together with time and concentrated grit.      Ghosts spill from

our wounds, through our blood, which dries on the ground as

 

the petals of their funeral flowers.      After the last calamity,

I had my mother take those petals in for a botanist’s inspection,

 

but he couldn’t finger the species of flora.     He always came off

a bit pale to me – like there’s not a hint of color to his personality,

 

like he doesn’t have a rainbow emanating from the prism of his bone

marrow the way I do.             Folks swear that’s impossible by some

 

definition, but they don’t know.        They can’t understand this

feeling.            What it’s like to hold the history of man inside you,

 

the secrets of existence, and yet be treated like yours ain’t worth

a feather, though perhaps that bird has already died of exhaustion

 

from singing inside a soundproof room – as I said, these walls haven’t

cried in years.              They only seem to close in, collapse to ash, cloud.

 

Photo by Andrew Cohen

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About Author

Cortney Lamar Charleston is a Cave Canem fellow and Pushcart Prize nominated poet living in Jersey City, NJ. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Beloit Poetry Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Eleven Eleven, Fugue, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Journal, The Normal School, Pleiades, Rattle, Southern Humanities Review and elsewhere.

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