Jessica Cuello

The Bird Girl

When a world was in me
I wept for the milk
burning my breast red

red as the wagon in the yard
and plastic things are ugly
when they’re old

I took a pill for that
for my child’s mouth
smaller than mine

There were seeds knotted
there were walls of me that slid
away, there was the red sea

Before I knit you in the womb
I knew you
and after I was never known

and when the world left me
I wept like Joseph,
father of no baby,

whose wife chose God,
God the adulterer
God loved only Her

Her bird gasp and bird gallows
Tiny annunciation
Nest of the dead

Jessica Cuello is the author of Pricking (Tiger Bark Press, 2016) and Hunt, a response to the absent feminine in Moby Dick and winner of the 2016 Washington Prize from The Word Works. She is also the author of the chapbooks Curie, By Fire, and My Father's Bargain, and she has been a recipient of the New Letters Poetry Prize and a Saltonstall Fellowship.