portion of the artwork for Lorrie Ness's poetry

Why I Sing
Lorrie Ness

mother kept a neglected bird
contrived as origami
barren but overflowing
a prisoner in a dainty frock
trained like bonsai by a wire dome
quieted by the corset
empty of songs
reduced to preening
her skin was pimpled, plucked
her head a wild shag
parakeet on artichoke walls
waiting for the wind
who bustled with her hands
& loved her for her silence
a baby was the next logical step
following dotted lines
seeking confirmation of womanhood
the Good Housekeeping seal
my first memory is being in a cage
laced in a laundry basket
muffled as a paper doll
mouthfuls of colored clothes
not smoothly dressed & powdered
no Gerber curl or rounded brow
camouflaged like prayer flags
waiting for the lift of mother
who fished blindly for socks
my first memory of being invisible

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 54 | Fall/Winter 2019