When birds chirp at our feet 

for bread crusts, the sounds are small prayers. 

Look how they descend from the branch 

to the ground, like a man kneeling

at the front of the pulpit.

How they wrestle worms

too big for their beaks, like a girl trying

on her Nonna’s rosary for the first time. 

Every night, we offer our prayers

to the morning by the foot of the bed

to hear the birds sing another day.

There must be mornings where She

enjoys the bird song. And there must be days

where She drinks too many words 

the night before, hung over on prayer. 

See how She rolls over in bed

covers her ears with a flat pillow.

When we knock on the bedroom door,

does She pretend to be asleep?

Nicole Markert standing at a podium reading into a microphone. She is a white person with black and pink hair.

Nicole Markert is a bi/queer poet. Their work has appeared in Moon City Review, Rust & Moth, Furrow, SWWIM Every Day, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, New Voices: Philadelphia’s Emerging Poets Anthology, and others. She currently resides in the Philadelphia area, and recently graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont College where she received the Graduate Studies Thesis of the Year Award for her first poetry manuscript, which she hopes to publish in the future.