familiar

I whistle out into the night & it comes to me. a creature that already knows my intentions. its feet fit nicely into the divot made by my collarbones. it is like me: accustomed to dim light & hiding its talons. I am teaching it to speak. juniper, I tell it. calamity. it is ravenous & I am responsible for feeding it. it eats small mechanical parts. sudden laughter. soft hair from the napes of men’s necks. it grows restless indoors so I show it wild blackberries. bury it in a pile of leaves. it stores breezes of all different weights in its lungs. I drive it to the coast for a taste of fog. take it on a run so it can savor the crunch of a winter morning. one day it nosedives from a hemlock & I stitch its wing up with embroidery thread. it alights on my finger when I call. it has started to hum at dusk. nightmare, I pronounce for it slowly. femur femur femur, it murmurs back. it has two sets of eyelids. it knows to hold prolonged eye contact only with me.

 


Karah Kemmerly grew up in Northern California but currently lives in Corvallis, where she is pursuing an MFA in poetry at Oregon State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spectrum Literary Journal, The Tulane Review, and the Plath Poetry Project.

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