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  • Writer's pictureLammergeier Staff

Cycle | V. Navarro


In the beginning we were a murmuration,

a skein of starlings twisting in the sky.

Love, don’t look. The whole world creaks

and sputters under this faucet of blood.


You were a buck, your antlers

hard and clean as gold. You never lost

your fawn spots, a scatter of faint stars

on the map of your smooth hair.

In all my dreams that season, you were

mishandled by cars.

This is the way things are now,

Love. “Get used to it” is too harsh.

But there it is, my body used

to get it to survive. I want


another story for you. Not a revenge

tale where we move like a flood

through the ugly rooms of all the men who

drown things in sackcloth bags. And not

one where we go to feed the fungus

in our shoe-box coffins, a food chain

law where we dream inside each other’s

minds no more. Instead I want a world

where nothing dies and the earth

clutters with breath. They let us

into their bright houses to sleep

in their bathtubs. We roost

unchased away in rafters. We wrap

our wings around ourselves

and hang in closets. We welcome

the mosquito lamp bursting its bulb.


This is not the case, Love. Now,

the gods have made the earth

harder, and Adam and Eve’s

children let us sink in machines.

I have no more milk and no more

mind. I want to think

we were once leopards or lynxes.

I want to think the snow once

licked us clean.


Once as children, my brother and I closed our eyes

when we knew the time had come. “Tigers,

tigers,” we chanted, picturing the rivers of black

coursing over our newborn bodies.

We came back as vultures, but

thank god, we were of the same kind.


Again I’m a moth beating

myself against the window,

a drive for light too strong

to see my body crush more

to dust with each blow.


And O god, a cluster of tangled hands

writhing in the water. They sweat

poison from their open pores. Tell me

this is not our inheritance.


Remember our shining fangs?

They were the first to go when our bodies

slid out from under us and we mangled

from wolves into angler fish, brightening

our crowded mouths with

hurt light.


I remember when your mother

was a swan. I prayed that maybe,

just once, a form could hold fast.

But she, too, shattered.


And then I was an arctic tern and you

were a wet-blue dart frog. And I flew

and I looked, and I looked,

and I looked for you.


In the long span of turning taxonomy,

keep close. Follow my skin again

when it shifts. I’ll keep a call

in my throat that only we know.

V. Navarro lives in her hometown of Tampa, FL where she received her MFA from the University of South Florida. She is starting doctoral work at USF this fall in the Department of Communication where she plans to focus on performance studies. You can follow her on twitter and instagram at @vnavarrowriter

Twitter: @vnavarrowriter

Instagram: @vnavarrowriter



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