The Mechanical Bird Writes an Ars Poetica (Dear X, -B)

by Caroline Chavatel

Dear X,
Because the dreams in which I fly
above myself are the most pleasing.
Because in winter there are never

enough words to beg for warmth.
Because if I were to paint
my face, you’d still recognize my caw.

Because my voice is a knife
waiting to be pulled on itself.
Because we become

our appointment times,
our dosage and desires.
Because this shop carnival is

our shared jaw salivating.
Because I extend my wing
and you pull it toward you.

Because the pulling
seems to be all we have.
Because it’s all we have—

the most satisfying way
to say it means something.

Dear X, the aisles are crowded with people
in their never-ending hustle for goods, for something to make
something else into something else. -B

Dear X, all you want
            is tenderness, the hum
of the earth in rotation on
time & expected, something
            you can count on
an extremity, a holiday,
something clean and devout
            & you want love to be
as gentle as a bird resting
on a feeder—the quiet
            meal of night swallowing
its child into an impossible
forever:    -B

Dear X, to know a machine and its heft,
the desire for shelf-stable products,
these dreadful human desires:
to be both left alone and never gone. -B

Caroline Chavatel is the author of White Noises (Greentower Press, 2019), which won The Laurel Review’s 2018 Midwest Chapbook Contest. Her work has appeared in Sixth Finch, Poetry Northwest, AGNI, Gulf Coast, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She is editor and co-founder of both Madhouse Press and The Shore and is currently a PhD student at Georgia State University.