Sarah Goldstein


Anhinga, annihilation. The best indoctrination we can think of.
An arrangement going back on me. Wait for you too, I take it

up under eaves. The walls outside bulge. The deck is not fatal,
nor the brick-lined ivy trace. Oriole blue or tanager hissing.

Square song in a cage is a tactic for her. Tick-tick in
the briar bush, in the ferns. Scarlet mite on my chest

breaks the stay. Locution, apparition takes a picture of the sprite
out there, you know she walks heavy. She moves toward

a cardinal. The greybird floats by first, knocking up
the magnolia. Down goes our ribbon, up comes the poison

twig in his beak. Tiny backyard beauty: the worst we can
matter is slaughter.



The title of this piece refers to a Roman bronze statue called the Spinario (sometimes also called the Thorn Puller), thought to be from around the first century BC. The poem came about partly from observations of my own backyard as well as my ongoing obsession with birds.