Written By: Rosemarie Dombrowski

I. Bird

You come home on a Monday and I tell you
that I’m in love with the decomposing bird
that’s been tucked under the hibiscus for months.
I make you look at its sad little sack-of-bones,
the fuzz trapped inside the marrow
that’s melting into the soil.

I tell you that it had a four-chambered heart
and practiced the art of call-and-response.
I tell you that social monogamy
should be declared a religion.
I’m convinced that my obsession with tea
has to do with the fossils of birds found in China.

You tell me that you collected porcelain birds
when you were ten.
I tell you that this one isn’t my first.


II. Prairie Dog

When we discover the prairie dog,
I make you photograph its decapitated body,
file the images under
things that need to be identified or explained.

But I want you to know that I’m not always like this,
that I have faith in things that aren’t finite,
like pick-up games of marbles on the playground,
cats with rubber balls and the persistence of weeds.

I want to be able to tell you
that I’ve scooped up the carcass,
tossed it into the foul, green bin
with the turkey gizzards and the egg shells,
the beer bottles that the neighbors are too lazy to recycle.

I want to believe that everything rots for a reason,
that the periodic table of elements
is a book of vegetarian recipes in various states of decay,
that electrons will always be harmonious with protons,
that once things align, they never veer off course.

But we both know better.

Rosemarie Dombrowski

Rosemarie Dombrowski is the co-founder of the Phoenix Poetry Series and a poetry editor at Four Chambers. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in Hartskill Review, The Ginosko Anthology (v3), Anthro/Poetics, Poetry and Prose for the Phoenix Art Museum, and elsewhere.

Her first collection, The Book of Emergencies, was published by Five Oaks Press in 2014 and was nominated for three Pushcarts. She was also a finalist for the Pangea Poetry Prize in 2015. She’s currently a Lecturer at Arizona State University’s Downtown campus where she serves as the editor of the student writing journal and teaches courses on radical poetics, women’s lit, and Lady Gaga.

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