A Fledgling Is a Young Bird That Has Its Feathers and Is Learning to Fly

I, on the other hand,
make sure to wash my mouth
whenever I say something slippery. I am washing
right now, ma chérie, with a pen
in my left hand and my page on the rim of the sink
and my right hand is reaching toward you,
you in the mirror, to pull your hair out.

The terror of having to realize the unrealizable: I am a baby
on the kitchen counter, one of many. My mother continues
to unload us from a crate. The counter is littered with knives.
No one is hurt except all of us are hurt and yearning
to sleep. It is cold. Keep this in mind, it is cold.
My mother, the woman, she is wearing a chain
of children's molars. A man wearing the same chain
appears in the doorway and begins to eat us one by one.

My mother in a blue apron. It is springtime inside
and outside the kitchen. I hear the dog screech from the yard,
his "body" is caught under the lawnmower
my father is driving. I tell my mother to get off
the machine, to let this one live, but he doesn't listen,
he takes off his apron and steps outside,
sees the dog screeching and by now, it is still springtime.

You are in control. The day is yellow
in the sense that the grasses are dying. There are animals
dying every minute, waiting, even after their deaths,
to be adopted. Pick up the phone. Pick up the baby
and set it in a meadow. Wait for a bird to settle
on its head and take a photo. Mail the photo to your mother.
Write to her, write, Just this once, just this once,
would you please come to my recital. I promise I will do better
than Jenny
. Take the baby back into your hands
and promise me, promise me.

What makes us go all the way to the bottom. The brother had severed
one of his fingers attempting to slice a fig. The mother took him
to the emergency room but only the brother returned. Since then,
I have had to be the woman of the house. I am proud to say
that the brother's fingers have grown six inches since I took over and the father
is very well near portly. I promise to fill them up. I say this every time
I pass the emergency room on the way to bed.

At least we have our authenticity. This is the last time
I'll ever lend my skin to a man who tells me he'll give it
right back. Keep this in mind: it is cold and my eyes
are too bloated for my head. I have had to squeeze them dry
at day's end. I do this in the bathroom, where a lady is safe
to take her apron off and her eyes out.

I say to Michael, I say, Michael,
Why don't you go out and find yourself a woman. I say,
Michael, any lady would be lucky to let you have her. I say, Take
this cake and take it into your arms and find a woman

You are in control. Take this stallion and ride it
to your demise. (Read: the sunset, behind the stars,
the green green garden.) Compare my flesh to yours. Look at my hair:
my neck hair and my toe hair. (Read: I am a woman and a woman
is a woman.) My unconscious is under siege,
papa bear. Take up your arms
and throw them around me. Bring a bouquet,
bring your big cowboy hat. Show me how to kill a horse.

Anaïs Duplan is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2015). Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Phantom Limb, PANK, Souvenir, Berfrois, amongst others. She is also Head Astronaut at The Spacesuits, a multimedia initiative to generate new concepts for paradise.