| Poetry, Visual Art

A Bird Called Prozac

Matthew Tuckner

Instead of dying, I decided to rename the birds.
Outside my window is the yellow-throated
me-in-me. Holding its wing in my hand, at a right
angle, it looks small, smaller than the radial artery

wrapped around my index finger that wriggles
away each time I move to cut at it. The me-in-me
carves, with its beak, the bark of the poplar that keeps
the sunlight to itself, despite my sitting at the window

with tongue stretched out to catch something more
than air. Tongue with which I would make song,
if I could song. What remains after the nest falls
from the tree is another me-in-me, leg broken

like a twig, wing torn where the white feathers blur
into grey. The irises of the me-in-me’s eyes
a pair of human knees. A few blood vessels burst
from the fall, from the harsh one-winged effort

to rightside itself. The prozac is the only bird I know
that nests on the ground, shaded among dead leaves,
immovable unless stepped on. The prozac purples
the orange dusk with its long shadow, blues

the dawn with its song that exits the beak
oil-slick and carbon-heavy. Perched on a log,
the prozac droops its wings, faces the undersides
towards the moon, drinks the light down deep until

the prozac learns to like the light again. Rasp in the throat,
particularly sharp talon, the prozac only seldom mates
with the I’m in love with you. They are only distinguished
by a slight difference in call: a slide trombone grieving

a foghorn or a foghorn grieving a slide trombone,
whichever sounds sadder is the prozac. I don’t want to die
screams the I’m in love with you from the apex
of the oldest oak on my street. At least this is how

it sounds to those of us without wings, acid in the belly,
hand reaching, and then not reaching, for the knife
next to the only fern in my room I can ever seem to keep
alive. Through the window I see a God in my birdfeeder,

a red-tailed God, named for the sound it makes when its
dancing for a mate. What’s in this God’s nest:
broken sliver of ketchup bottle, SIM card, marigold petal,
dollar bill, everything I’ve ever had to want for. Suddenly

there’s a starling in my left lung. Suddenly, starlings, like Gods,
are everywhere eating everything: click-beetles, stoneflies,
mosquitoes, a murmuration of prozac swallowed with lakewater.
Whiphorrwhills look like Gods too. Anything will that flies away

when it’s kicked from the nest. Everything in the world with
and without wings, stirring together in the is this really happening
for a little while longer: me-in-mes, Gods, prozac, nightjars,
the I’m in love with you I mistake for a mourning dove.

Matthew Tuckner

is a writer from New York. He received his BA from Bennington College and is currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at NYU where he is assistant poetry editor of Washington Square Review. He received the 2019 Green Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets, selected by Rick Barot. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Bear Review, Coal Hill Review, Crab Creek Review, Kestrel, The Missouri Review, Sugar House Review, TAGVVERK, and Tupelo Quarterly, among others.

ART: The Mirror’s Secret Perfume by Bill Wolak

BILL WOLAK is a poet, collage artist and photographer, and has just published his eighteenth book of poetry, All the Wind’s Unfinished Kisses with Ekstasis Editions. His collages and photographs have appeared as cover art for phoebe, Harbinger Asylum, Baldhip Magazine, Barfly Poetry Magazine, Ragazine, Cardinal Sins, Pithead Chapel, The Wire’s Dream, Thirteen Ways Magazine, Phantom Kangaroo, Rathalla Review, Free Lit Magazine, The Magnolia Review, Typehouse Magazine, The Round, and Flare Magazine.

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