portion of the artwork for Caroline Klocksiem's poetry

Birth poem: feverland
Caroline Klocksiem

Innocently enough
I began: ecru feather
egg-shaped in the healer’s mouth

hung over me. His own cut cheek
dripping blood into mine

insisting this blessed chicken blood
that is his own blood
belongs to me. That it’s a miracle

in front of everyone else.
Their eyes upon me. Sunlight leaks
into shadows

between my teeth. A little metallic
blood, too.
After this moment
the hills will be
unrecognizable. I think of Paradise Lost:

Raphael explaining birds
to the very first person. Imagine
explaining the beginning
of birds. Imagine your children

hearing your true name for the first time—That exact
moment severest distance begins.

Recovery is like talking all your secrets in sleep.
Recovery is like razing your own teeth in sleep.
All those

words inside you you know
cannot be true. Where did they come from? The calm

that follows, that falls—forgetting the true
names of things, forgetting how to call
the sun to prayer. The sun

has a cackle to it, a little
like the family barn on fire

you never noticed before. God’s own

throat clearing: fire-
ants suckling the borders of a wound.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 41 | Summer 2013